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Published: Wednesday, 8/11/2004

Dundee water park, hotel addition to total $17 million

Owners of the Holiday Inn Express near the Cabela's in Dundee are starting to look for local investors for a $17 million project to add 90 rooms to the hotel and a 30,000-square-foot water park for overnight guests.

Dean Morgan, president of Focus Hospitality Services of Valparaiso, Ind., said the company has to raise several million dollars yet for the project, scheduled to open in spring 2006. But officials believe funding won't be a problem because "there's a lot of interest in this project," he said.

John Patterson, president and chief executive of the Monroe County Convention & Tourism Bureau, said a water park will benefit other hotels and restaurants in the area. He witnessed the popularity of water parks on a family trip to the Wisconsin Dells three years ago.

"If done properly, it will definitely be an asset to Dundee," said Mr. Patterson, adding Focus should do a water park properly.

Architects still are working on plans for the 76-room hotel's expansion and the waterpark, and debt financing and equity need to be secured, Mr. Morgan said.

Construction is expected to begin next spring and to take about a year, he said, and hotel packages will be priced in the range of $159 to $199 a night.

Called SplashSensation and featuring three slides and other activities, it will be the first water park venture for Focus Hospitality, which handles management and development for Focus Enterprises Inc. of Valparaiso.

An estimated 6 million to 7 million people visit Cabela's annually, and the water park will give families something to do, Mr. Morgan said.

"It's a natural fit for Dundee with all of the people already coming," he said.

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