Chicago-area businessman acquires Indiana Beach

Whirlwind efforts to find a buyer began after Apex Parks Group said in February that the 94-year-old attraction would not reopen this year. (AP photo)

The Indiana Beach Amusement & Water Park Resort in Monticello has a new owner—a Chicago-area businessman who said the attraction could reopen as early as this summer.

“Once again it will become a family run Midwestern amusement park,” said Gene Staples, president of Indiana Beach Holdings LLC, which bought the park from California-based Apex Parks Group.

Staples made his comments to the News & Review of Monticello, which broke the news of the deal.

Apex had announced in February that it would not be reopening the park this year, citing disappointing performance. That sparked whirlwind efforts to find a buyer to save the 94-year-old attraction.

The 376-acre park offers roller coasters, a water park, an arcade, mini golf, ziplines and children’s rides, along with a boardwalk, a beach and campgrounds.

To help lure a buyer, White County officials assembled a $3 million incentive package.

Terms of the purchase were not disclosed.

In his interview with the News & Review, Staples described himself as an equity investor and businessperson who has been involved in transactions throughout Chicago and the Midwest.

“When this came about, I had the means to step in, had some initial discussions and saw an opportunity where I could be a potential wingman,” Staples said.

“I can do something about preventing the loss of another one of America’s icons, because they’re becoming less and less. The vintage amusement park is fallen prey, unfortunately. We’re losing Americana.”

Staples said he hopes to open the park in July but acknowledged that the COVID-19 pandemic makes timing uncertain.

Please enable JavaScript to view this content.

Story Continues Below

Editor's note: You can comment on IBJ stories by signing in to your IBJ account. If you have not registered, please sign up for a free account now. Please note our updated comment policy that will govern how comments are moderated.

12 thoughts on “Chicago-area businessman acquires Indiana Beach

  1. Thank you Mr. Staples for saving Indiana Beach! A true Indiana icon. My parents met at Indiana Beach in 1954. We had a summer home there and the memories are etched forever in my heart.

  2. I believe there is an income level where an individual investor no longer cares about profit. Think Bill Cook.

    Wouldn’t it be wonderful if Mr Staples considered this his West Baden Springs? A competition of philanthropy. Maybe an alliance of classics?

    There could be so many in Indiana. We would all be beneficiaries of their noblesse oblige. As a friend if mine says: All it costs is money. What is a timeless legacy worth?

  3. Let’s be more than grateful, or relieved. Take a weekend and make the trip. Show your kids what fun it can be to enjoy something less than a Disney or even Kings Island. Thank you Mr Staples. More importantly, let’s show him our gratitude by supporting a indiana a Beach!

  4. It would be great if they would go back to general admission if you want to just come in and enjoy the atmosphere, instead of having to spend $45 for a ride package. We used to ride the Shafer Queen, play Fascination, get something to eat, and still spend some money without being forced to. I imagine there are others like us who haven’t been since Apex took over. I hope this owner sees the opportunities to bring in everyone, not just those wanting to ride rides.

  5. I live south of Indianapolis and although having heard of Indiana beach for years didn’t know, until I did some work up that way, that this location is very important for people living in Chicago. I guess I always thought people in Chicago had everything they need but it seems after talking to locals in the Monticello area that probably half or more of the people that visit Indiana beach and that area are from the Chicago area.
    It is always great news when something like this are able to stay in business and keep a landmark in operation.

{{ articles_remaining }}
Free {{ article_text }} Remaining
{{ articles_remaining }}
Free {{ article_text }} Remaining Article limit resets in {{ count_down }} days.