MONTICELLO — The White County Commissioners passed a resolution Tuesday night to offer up to $3 million in incentives for any potential buyer of Indiana Beach.
The incentives would come from the county’s Wind Farm Economic Development Fund — minus any funds that would be contributed by the Indiana Economic Development Corporation.
“We’ve been in discussions with (IEDC) and there is an interest in providing incentives at the state level,” Richard Hall, a partner of Indianapolis-based Barnes & Thornburg law firm, said. “We’re still working through that process, but the thought is that whatever incentives they provide for the project would reduce the $3 million that the county will provide.”
The wind fund was established several years ago into which payments from wind companies are deposited for essentially rendering a large swath of the county its wind farms inhabit — from Brookston and Chalmers to Wolcott and Reynolds — useless for any other kind of economic development and job creation.
Money from the fund, Hall said, can only be used for economic development and “enhance the quality of life in the county.”
“The use of these funds provide the incentive and are consistent with the strategy that has been developed over the last decade,” Hall said.
The incentives, Hall said, require a potential buyer to continue operations at the amusement and water park resort.
The resolution passed Tuesday would give assurances to the White County Commission that a new buyer has closed on the purchase of Indiana Beach and that it will continue operations.
As a condition of providing the $3 million incentive, the county can establish requirements from a purchaser, such as the length of continued operation and number of jobs it must maintain.
Once any deal is finalized, the resolution allows the county to publicly release terms of the deal.
“None of those agreements will be secret,” Hall said.
There was no announcement of a potential buyer of Indiana Beach, but Hall said there have been “parties” that have approached Apex Parks Group, owners of Indiana Beach, and “expressed interest” in purchasing it.
Apex abruptly announced Feb. 18 that it was closing the 94-year-old facility due to financial reasons. Ever since, officials from White County and the city of Monticello have been working toward helping Apex find a potential buyer for Indiana Beach.
Commissioners maintain they are not involved in negotiations between private entities and, therefore, have no knowledge of what may be happening.