Shipshewana Water Park to close

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By Daryl Bjoraas

SHIPSHEWANA, Ind. -- One of Michiana's only water parks is closing. Splash Universe in Shipshewana will close its doors in just a matter of weeks.

It's a warm and windy day in Shipshewana, perfect for kite flying or a nice stroll though the countryside.

"The merchants in this area work really hard to make this a destination place," Laurie Sherck, Owner of Head Over Heels, said.

Her shop is focused on outdoor sports.

She makes her living off tourists visiting the area, so when she found out one of the county's most popular destinations was closing, she was upset.

"To be truthful, I was disapointed when I heard they were going to close down the water park," Sherck said. "I have grandchildren, and they love coming here. In fact, my grandson was devastated when he heard about it."

The park is set to close May 19th.

As much as it will hurt area businesses, the kids are the ones who will lose out the most.

"You've got to keep them focused on positive things," Michelle Myers, Executive Director of LaGrange Community Youth Centers, said.

She said losing Splash Universe is a big hit to the community because it's one of the few positive activities for area kids to do.

"That's where everything starts," Myers said. "If we lose them as kids, we're never going to get them back."

So this weekend, that attention will turn to the air.

Just a few feet from the water -- a national gathering of kite flyers is taking place. Organizers will be teaching kids how to fly a kite; all the while, hoping this activity will serve as a worthy replacement.

"You have to have something to keep them out of trouble. That's the whole gist of the non-profit I work for - is to find positive alternatives for kids, so they learn to make better decisions," Myers said.

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