- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 5, 2016

MONTICELLO, Ind. (AP) - A 90-year-old Monticello amusement park is making a comeback after coming under new ownership.

The Lafayette Journal & Courier (https://on.jconline.com/29vBTVH ) reports that the Indiana Beach Boardwalk Resort, located on Lake Shafer, has water attractions, roller coasters and concession stands, two campgrounds, two hotels and various vacation rentals.

Apex Parks Group has updated several of the park’s attractions in preparation for the 2016 season, and added attractions, including a single-loop roller coaster and bumper boats that will open later this season.

The park’s Ferris wheel has been updated with the installation of 25 LEDs, or light-emitting diode, on the ride’s spokes to display computer-generated light shows at night. Each of its cars has been repainted as well.

The company, which took over the park in September, says it has a five-year plan to improve the park. Officials say that after less than a year of new ownership, the park has sold 10,000 more annual passes than last year, general admission sales have increased, and the park now has 60 full-time employees. The park had about 20 less full-time employees under previous ownership.

Monticello Chamber of Commerce executive director Janet Dold says the park’s annual economic impact in 2001 was estimated at $60.4 million, but dropped to $29.6 million under previous ownership.

Dold says changes in Indiana tourism from longer to shorter stays also contributed to the decrease. Dold was invited to a recent VIP day for community members to check out the park before it opened for the season on May 27, and said she was optimistic about the park.

Earl Spackman created the attraction in the 1920s before handing it off to his son, Thomas, who sold the park in 2008.

Thomas’ daughter, Cathy Juntgen, worked at the park as a teenager, as did her older siblings. Juntgen stopped working at the park in 2013 and said she didn’t think the park would last another year. She thought it would close just before it could celebrate its 90th anniversary.

Juntgen has started working for the park and said she understands it will take time for things to return to the way they were under her father’s ownership.

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Information from: Journal and Courier, https://www.jconline.com

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