SYRACUSE — A developer is preparing to reopen a lake resort in northern Indiana that has been closed since 2008 after more than a century as a religious retreat.
The Oakwood Inn Resort & Conference Center at Lake Wawasee near Syracuse is expected to open up in mid-June, The Journal Gazette reported Thursday, May 23. Developer Yellow Retirement Communities plans to market the 88-room inn for weddings and other events.
“It’s an awesome property, and we expect to turn it into a national destination,” company vice president David Ludwig said.
The resort first opened as a religious retreat center in 1893 and covers 27 acres at the lake about midway between Fort Wayne and South Bend.
Ludwig said the company has added a full spa that features massages and a hair salon as part of its renovations at the resort that also includes eight cabins and 10 vacation homes.
Fort Wayne-based Yellow Retirement Communities runs several senior citizen complexes in northern Indiana. It took over the lake resort after it was in court receivership because of financial troubles by the nonprofit foundation that owned it.
Howard Brembeck, a Goshen businessman who died in 2010, gave the foundation $20 million to run the resort but claimed in a 2007 lawsuit that the foundation’s board mismanaged the resort and lost hundreds of thousands of dollars a year as it went into debt.
“We’ve hired 85 full- and part-time workers and totally renovated the place,” Ludwig said. “It will be run like a business and not a foundation.”
Mary Kittrell, executive director of the Kosciusko County Convention and Visitors Bureau, said the new resort has been generating more tourism interest for the area.
“It’s such a great asset to the community,” Kittrell said. “To have something like that right on the lake will be ideal for weddings. It’s also good to have someone local in control of it.”
Information from: The Journal Gazette, http://www.journalgazette.net