Businessman asks Harrison Co. for $5M to build aquarium, dinosaur park

Businessman asks Harrison Co. for $5M to build aquarium, dinosaur park
A 200,000 square foot aquarium and dinosaur park is likely heading to southern Indiana.
Ed Dana (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Ed Dana (Source: WAVE 3 News)

CORYDON, IN (WAVE) - Now that a 200,000 square foot aquarium and dinosaur park is on the radar for southern Indiana, it has people talking in Harrison County.

Ed Dana is a Louisville businessman behind the project. After a lack of support from Louisville, Dana turned to Harrison County, Indiana

The county's three commissioners all back the idea, but it still needs approval from the county council.

During Tuesday's public hearing, the community questioned jobs, financing, roadwork and business competition. Dana gave a 13 minute prepared presentation and answered questions. He projected ticket costs in the upwards of $30 per admission ticket.

He said he felt comfortable going into the meeting, because he does have government support, although now he needs to convince the community.

Dana is asking for $5 million to add to money promised by global investors.

"That, that's a lot of money and even to me, $30 admission, I mean I have 18 grandkids, could I get them in that park?," long-time Harrison County resident Sandy Gettelfinger said. "No, so I'm thinking who would you draw that has that income?"

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Dana said he's in negotiations with a location and isn't ready to reveal where in the county he hopes to land the park. However, he plans to reveal the location within the next 10 days.

The county still has not released its incentives package.

Dana said the park is already more than 50 percent funded and would likely employ 300 people or more. He said he will hire locally first.

"We give our veteran priority, and our locals," Dana said. "Some positions, though, you can't find qualified marine biologists in Louisville, I might find divers, but quite a few positions that we're proposing will be brought in from outside markets."

He is also looking for state help on road widening to support the number of visitors. Some neighbors question the likelihood of that happening. Others voiced concerns about the risk of the county losing its rural appeal if the park did succeed.

Dana went on to say that he doesn't worry about being in competition with other local museums and parks, including The Louisville Zoo, Louisville Slugger Museum, Kentucky Kingdom and the Kentucky Science Center.

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