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Indiana starts work on $100M lodge, first new state park inn since 1939

Work begins on the lodge at Potato Creek

NORTH LIBERTY, Ind. (WISH) — Work began Thursday on Indiana’s first new state park inn since 1939.

The Lodge at Potato Creek will sit adjacent to Worster Lake and have 120 guest rooms, a 150-seat dining room, a conference center for up to 350 people, an indoor aquatic center, a nature room, a café and a gift shop. The inn could open in 2026 or 2027 with prices comparable to the state’s seven existing park inns, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources says.

Potato Creek State Park opened in 1969 with 3,840 acres. The park is about a 25-minute drive southwest of the city of South Bend.

The park was once home to the Potawatomi American Indians. Later, the site housed the free Black community known as the Huggart Settlement; many of its residents are buried in a cemetery in the park. Next, the land was used for farming before becoming a state park.

For recreation, the park includes the 327-acre lake used for boating and fishing; hiking and bicycling trails; camping; and horseback riding trails. The spring wildflowers, the trees’ leaves in the fall, migratory birds, and ice fishing are touted as popular attractions.

Gov. Eric Holcomb was among dignitaries who broke ground on the project. Holcomb in May signed a budget bill into law that contained $100 million to support the project, which was designed for an addition $5 million.

Others attending the groundbreaking ceremony were Natural Resources Director Dan Bortner; Rebecca Richards, chairwoman of the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi; and Terry Coleman, director of Indiana State Parks.

The Indiana Inns Authority — it’s a legislature-established, quasigovernmental entity that’s part of the Department of Natural Resources — will operate the park.

Below are renderings of The Lodge at Potato Creek and photos of the groundbreaking from Indiana State Parks