A Louisville entrepreneur has shifted his plans for an $81 million aquarium and adjoining amusement park, water park and dinosaur museum to the Hoosier state.
Ed Dana, founder of Sleep Center of Kentuckiana LLC, outlined his proposal Tuesday to build the 200,000-square-foot Indiana Fun World in Harrison County after Harrison County Commissioners lobbied for the project.
Dana told a packed crowd inside the Harrison County Commissioner’s chambers in Corydon Tuesday morning that he is looking for 300 acres along the Ohio River in Harrison County that could accommodate the multi-faceted tourist attraction, which Dana anticipates will employ between 300 and 500 people. He declined to disclose what areas of the county he is searching because no land deals have been signed.
As part of the proposal, he is looking for official approval from the county as well as a public investment of as much as $5 million to help get the proposal off the ground.
Dana first proposed the aquarium on more than 50 acres at Louisville’s Champions Park off River Road earlier this year, but he faced pushback from city officials who warned that the park sits in a floodplain.
Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer’s office also said the project was not an immediate priority and that other plans were being considered for Champions Park.
Dana said he had a solution to mitigate the floodplain concerns at Champions Park but that he chose Harrison County after extensive talks with county commissioners and the enthusiasm that emerged in recent weeks. He said the county works as a location because it is so close to Louisville while being along the river.
Dana told reporters this morning that he received feedback from other cities interested in hosting the complex, including Radcliff, Ky., near the Fort Knox Army installation.
The proposed aquarium, now called Indiana Journey Into the Oceans, would include numerous live animal exhibits that explore ocean and marine life as well as a 5-D theater experience and indoor dining facilities.