Indiana Economic Digest | Indiana
Advanced Search

• Most Recent




home : most recent : region 6 September 25, 2017


9/8/2017 4:33:00 PM
Ed Dana: Harrison County perfect spot for $81 million aquarium, water park and more

Ross Schulz, Corydon Democrat

Imagine swimming in a large pool with family and friends and being able to look through a glass barrier to see whales, sharks and all sorts of ocean life seemingly right next to you.

Or, sit in a bus and experience a Tyrannosaurus Rex attack, like in "Jurassic Park," in a 5-D movie theater.

If that's not enough, spend the day riding amusement park rides or walking through a dinosaur museum or aquarium.

Picture millions of visitors per year venturing into this park and 300 to 500 immediate jobs created.

That's the dream Louisville business owner Ed Dana hopes to make a reality.

And he wants to bring it to Harrison County.

"I think this would be the perfect spot," Dana said yesterday (Tuesday) morning, at the meeting of the Harrison County Board of Commissioners, in front of an overflow audience in the Government Center in south Corydon.

"We'll make it look better than Disney," he said of the Indiana Fun World plan.

The $81 million project includes an aquarium, water park, dinosaur museum and adventure park.

Dana would not say what part of the county he's looking at but said it needs to be near the Ohio River.

The project requires 300 acres of land.

Dana said he does not yet have a firm funding commitment but expects that to come through the global market, with the majority coming from foreign investors.

"It won't happen without public support," he said.

Dana has been in talks with the county commissioners for about three months.

"They are supportive," he said.

He will eventually request $5 million from the county, in upfront funding.

Dana said he wants to re-brand Harrison County to forever be a tourist destination.

The diverse and expansive proposal will enrich the county and boost the regional economy, he said.

The 200,000-square-foot-facility will feature a full-service marine life aquarium, including the following exhibits: Deep Oceans & What's Beneath, American Marine Life Exhibit, South America & Rain Forest, Asian Oceans, African Waters, Cold Water Zone, Polar World Gallery, The Deserts Hidden Marine Life, The Coral House Exhibit, Indiana Waters & Beyond, Shallow Waters World and 5-D Experience Theaters.

The Living Dinosaurs Museum will create dinosaurs in a bigger, better and more alive manner than ever before, according to a brochure.

"We will design our exhibits portraying scientific evidence accurately in realistic environments," it said. "We want to take our visitors back in time in real interactive live exhibits."

The Adventure World amusement park will include 30 to 50 rides, live and local music showcases, wedding and party packages and food and beverage booths.

The Shark Bay Water Park will include lazy rivers, raging rivers, wave pools, spray and play fountains, zip lines and more.

"Please support us to make this a reality," Dana said.

After a 13-minute presentation, Dana answered a number of questions, the majority from Corydon resident Sandy Gettelfinger.

Dana said the cost for visitors will be about $30.

Gettelfinger asked about the Louisville Zoo and its $100-million-plus renovation, and if it would take away from his project.

"There's no comparison," Dana said of the aquarium park and the zoo. "The zoo is no competition to us."

Dana said just because a world-class attraction is located in the area does not mean the county will lose its country charm, citing Gatlinburg as an example.

Dana is working with banks to come up with a plan to build 50 to 75 houses for potential employees, he said.

He said he would love for Harrison Countians to fill the positions but said many of the jobs, such as marine biologists, will have to be specially qualified.

Dana said he has worked on a $10 million water station project in Israel and a $2.5 million urgent care facility in Louisville, but this would be his biggest venture.

"I hope to build a legacy, put us on the map in a positive way," he said.

The mission of the project is to develop multi world-class attractions where visitors will seek education, science, research, conservation and entertainment.

"We will strive to inspire visitors of all ages and from all walks of life to better understand and learn about us humans past, present and in the future," the mission statement continues. "We will help our visitors to understand and care about all life forms and our planet."

Commissioner Jim Klinstiver, after the meeting, said he supports Dana and his vision.

The next step, according to Klinstiver, is property acquisition.

Dana's goal is to have a grand opening in the summer of 2020.

For more information about the project, visit indianafunworld.com. Dana said the presentation from the meeting will be on the website.

The commissioners' next meeting will be Monday, Sept. 18, at 7 p.m. at the Government Center in south Corydon.he said.

Dana has been in talks with the county commissioners for about three months.

"They are supportive," he said.

He will eventually request $5 million from the county, in upfront funding.

Dana said he wants to re-brand Harrison County to forever be a tourist destination.

The diverse and expansive proposal will enrich the county and boost the regional economy, he said.

The 200,000-square-foot-

facility will feature a full-service marine life aquarium, including the following exhibits: Deep Oceans & What's Beneath, American Marine Life Exhibit, South America & Rain Forest, Asian Oceans, African Waters, Cold Water Zone, Polar World Gallery, The Deserts Hidden Marine Life, The Coral House Exhibit, Indiana Waters & Beyond, Shallow Waters World and 5-D Experience Theaters.

The Living Dinosaurs Museum will create dinosaurs in a bigger, better and more alive manner than ever before, according to a brochure.

"We will design our exhibits portraying scientific evidence accurately in realistic environments," it said. "We want to take our visitors back in time in real interactive live exhibits."

The Adventure World amusement park will include 30 to 50 rides, live and local music showcases, wedding and party packages and food and beverage booths.

The Shark Bay Water Park will include lazy rivers, raging rivers, wave pools, spray and play fountains, zip lines and more.

"Please support us to make this a reality," Dana said.

After a 13-minute presentation, Dana answered a number of questions, the majority from Corydon resident Sandy Gettelfinger.

Dana said the cost for visitors will be about $30.

Gettelfinger asked about the Louisville Zoo and its $100-million-plus renovation, and if it would take away from his project.

"There's no comparison," Dana said of the aquarium park and the zoo. "The zoo is no competition to us."

Dana said just because a world-class attraction is located in the area does not mean the county will lose its country charm, citing Gatlinburg as an example.

Dana is working with banks to come up with a plan to build 50 to 75 houses for potential employees, he said.

He said he would love for Harrison Countians to fill the positions but said many of the jobs, such as marine biologists, will have to be specially qualified.

Dana said he has worked on a $10 million water station project in Israel and a $2.5 million urgent care facility in Louisville, but this would be his biggest venture.

"I hope to build a legacy, put us on the map in a positive way," he said.

The mission of the project is to develop multi world-class attractions where visitors will seek education, science, research, conservation and entertainment.

"We will strive to inspire visitors of all ages and from all walks of life to better understand and learn about us humans past, present and in the future," the mission statement continues. "We will help our visitors to understand and care about all life forms and our planet."

Commissioner Jim Klinstiver, after the meeting, said he supports Dana and his vision.

The next step, according to Klinstiver, is property acquisition.

Dana's goal is to have a grand opening in the summer of 2020.

For more information about the project, visit indianafunworld.com. Dana said the presentation from the meeting will be on the website.

The commissioners' next meeting will be Monday, Sept. 18, at 7 p.m. at the Government Center in south Corydon.

Related Stories:
• Louisville business owner considering Harrison County for 'world class' aquarium








Editor, John C. DePrez Jr.; Executive Editor, Carol Rogers; Publishers: IBRC and IAR


Software © 1998-2017 1up! Software, All Rights Reserved