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Dana aims for PETA backing

Louisville businessman Ed Dana presented his Indiana Fun World proposal Monday night to the Harrison County Council, shedding more light on his idea to bring an aquarium, water park, amusement park and dinosaur park to Harrison County.
Dana said there’s a possibility, if PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) makes an enticing case, to create a virtual aquarium with immersive reality theaters and holograms. He said to think along the lines of the Harry Potter and Avatar attractions at Disney World.
Dana, who has a meeting with PETA officials this week, said it would be huge to have PETA’s name associated with the project.
‘It would bring the (Hollywood) stars,’ he said.
Dana said he gets a sad feeling when visiting zoos, especially when viewing dozens of gorillas in a room the size of ‘my bedroom.’
He said animals should not be in a cage, but, instead, it should be people in the cages viewing animals in their natural habitat.
If the project was to move to a virtual reality attraction, Dana said he still may have real animals as a possible animal sanctuary to rehabilitate animals that need it before releasing them to their natural home.
For now, until he speaks with PETA officials, the plan is still for a live aquarium, he said.
‘PETA has to offer a lot before I change my mind,’ he said.
Dana indicated he would request $5 million from the county along with the cost of the land purchase, which he described as ‘as close as it could be to Louisville’ and ‘as cleaning up an abused property.’
He said he has up to $9 million committed to the project that will have a total price tag of a little more than $200 million ($81 million for the aquarium).
The Bank of England has provided a letter of intent for up to $60 million, he said.
‘We want the money (county’s $5 million) when you see buildings going up,’ he said. ‘It should be a great investment.’
Council Chair Gary Davis said he’d need more information before voting to support the endeavor.
‘I think we need to see something in writing that defines more precisely what we’re investing in,’ Davis said, mentioning costs and financing.
Dana said he would be happy to provide that information.
In other business, the council approved the following additional appropriations out of the specified fund: $185,000 for Corydon-Ramsey Road paving between Sheri Lane and Quarry Road, Local Road & Street Fund; $50,055.30 for two Chevrolet, 1/2-ton trucks for the plan commission, Riverboat Fund; $10,000 for autopsy costs for the coroner, General Fund; and $5,000 for right-of-way acquisition for bridge 91 work on Tee Road, Cumulative Bridge Fund.
The council will begin budget deliberation meetings tomorrow (Thursday) at 7 p.m. Its next meeting will be Monday, Sept. 25, at 7 p.m. at the Government Center in south Corydon.