Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Local News

January 22, 2012

Unpaid taxes has Shipshewana's Splash Universe on the auction block

SHIPSHEWANA — One of Shipshewana’s year-round tourist attractions has a tax problem.

The owners of the Splash Universe water park and adjacent 154-room Amish Country Inn, owe LaGrange County about $768,000 in unpaid property taxes. The unpaid assessment has local people worried and wondering what the company intends to do about the debt. To date, the owners, Focus Hospital Services Inc. of Sarasota, Fla., let the property go to a tax sale in October and has not contacted county officials about another pending sale.

“They did not pick it up,” said LaGrange County commissioner George Bachman. “The property was put up for tax sale a few months ago. They could have come in and paid the taxes or bid on the property and they did not do that either. We have not heard from them.”

He said the taxes owed are for just one year.

But the Shipshewana Town Council did hear from Focus back in February 2011. That’s when the company asked for a $500,000 retroactive tax abatement for its property. The council turned down that request.

In October the county took ownership of the tax certificates at a tax sale for the inn and water park property. Now the commissioners are planning to include the certificates in a tax sale later this spring, mostly likely in March, as part of a group of properties that are in tax default.

Bachman said the county will set a minimum bid on what is owed by Focus. He estimated the company has $15 million to $16 million tied up in the hotel and water park but it’s actual worth may be about half that.

He said that even if someone purchases the tax lien on the complex, the law gives the owners a year to pay the taxes before foreclosure can begin.

“We just want to push the issue. We don’t want that tax bill to build up and be $2 million next year. That is all we are trying to do.”

Still operating

The water park and hotel are still operating. Staff at the hotel Friday said there was no manager able to talk about the tax issue. Calls to the Focus headquarters in Sarasota went to voicemail.

The company’s website says the water park is open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays during the school year and every day when school is out.

The company operates a second water park at a Holiday Inn in Dundee, Mich.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Mary Alice Miller SILVERTON, Ore. — Mary Alice Miller, born Aug. 9, 1950, near Topeka, LaGrange County, Ind., departed this life following a short illness Tuesday at her home near Silverton. Mary was baptized in her youth upon confession of her faith in Jesus Christ a

    July 31, 2014

  • Gene R. Lowther ELKHART — Gene R. Lowther, 75, died Tuesday at Golden Living Center. He married Mary M. Flynn March 27, 1970, in Elkhart. She survives with two sons, Michael (Pam) Estes and James Estes, both of Elkhart; and two daughters, Donna Estes of Elkhart and

    July 31, 2014

  • GN140801 jeffery hunt Warsaw man gets 120 years for home invasion

    GOSHEN — An elderly New Paris couple who were victims of a violent home invasion last fall recounted that frightening night during one of their attackers’ sentencing hearing.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • BIZ GN140801 eby ford image 02 Eby Ford renovates showroom and more GOSHEN — The remodeled and expanded Eby Ford, Lincoln, Mercury dealership was celebrated Thursday night during an open house and ribbon cutting. “Without our awesome customers, we wouldn’t be here,” said owner Todd Eby as he addressed the crowd of fr

    July 31, 2014 2 Photos

  • GN140801 Mackowiak new Millersburg marshal.jpg Retired Goshen police officer sworn in as new Millersburg town marshal

    Retired Goshen police officer Al Mackowiak was sworn in as Millersburg's new town marshal Wednesday.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Wawasee Conservancy map Conservancy buys wetlands property at Syracuse Lake SYRACUSE — The Wawasee Area Conservancy Foundation has purchased 44 1/2 acres of property along the southeast corner of Syracuse Lake. It is adjacent to the CSX railroad tracks, East Shore Drive and Cornelius Road and includes the Bonar Lake wetlands

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • GN140731 Habitat auction2.jpg Friday auction to benefit Habitat SHIPSHEWANA — On Friday, LaGrange County Habitat for Humanity will host its annual auction at Shipshewana Auction Barn.The auction begins at 3:30 p.m. and includes, among many other items, a five-piece bedroom suite, a white oak trestle table and a d

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • City heads seek more employees GOSHEN — Like the 2014 budget, the city of Goshen’s proposed 2015 budget will include a number of requests for new personnel as department heads fight to maintain services amidst growing responsibilities and shrinking coffers.The Goshen City Council

    July 31, 2014

  • Rerouting for U.S. 33 lags behind GOSHEN — It looks like the city could start seeing some movement on the planned U.S. 33 rerouting project by as early as next month.That’s the word from Goshen Civil City Engineer Mary Cripe, who spoke on the subject during the annual Goshen City Cou

    July 31, 2014

  • School board OKs contract GOSHEN — The Board of Directors of the Goshen Community School Corp. approved the design-build contract with Ancon Construction of Goshen Wednesday.They approved $12.260 million for the Goshen Middle School piece of construction, said GCS Superintend

    July 31, 2014

Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Poll

Classes at Goshen Community Schools and St. John the Evangelist Catholic School will begin the 2014-15 school year on Thursday, Aug. 7. School corporations throughout the state have been trending toward earlier start dates the past few years. When do you think school should start?

I think early August is a good time to start
I think later in August would be a good time to start
I think school should start after Labor Day
     View Results
AP Video
Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction Malaysian PM: Stop Fighting in Ukraine Cantor Warns of Instability, Terror in Farewell Ravens' Ray Rice: 'I Made a Huge Mistake' Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers Small Plane Crash in San Diego Parking Lot Busy Franco's Not Afraid of Overexposure Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN