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The Associated Press, April 7, 2016
PORTAGE, Ind. (AP) — Work has begun on a resort in northwest Indiana that will include a lake, campground and a 165,000-square-foot dome that will be used for sporting events.
A ceremonial ground-breaking was held Tuesday in Portage, about 40 miles southeast of Chicago, for the $75 million resort that developer Tony Czapla hopes will eventually include a 150-room hotel, indoor drive-in movie theater and an indoor water park, as well as two smaller domes.
Czapla said he hopes the Catalyst Lifestyles Sports Resort will attract about 350,000 visitors annually, bringing in about $60 million a year into the area's economy. Czapla previously had proposed building the facility in Hobart and Chesterton.
"We've been at this for a long time," Czapla choked back tears as he spoke to about 150 people gathered.
Lorelei Weimer, executive director of Indiana Dunes Tourism, said Czapla first came to her with the concept of a sport resort in 2010.
"It's exciting to see it come to reality," she said. "Each attraction is unique and can drive visitors on their own, this is enhancing the area as a family destination spot."
Todd Leeth, attorney for the sports resort, said excavation for the lake will begin as soon as the ground dries out. The lake will also be home to an island that will include two adventure climbing towers.
Czapla said he hopes the lake, campground, and large sports dome will be completed by the end of the year, with an opening set for 2017. The development will be on about 160 acres straddling the Burns Waterway.
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