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February 19, 2002

Legislature Renames Highway To Honor Holiday World Legend

Article written by:
Eric Gieszl, Editor

Santa Claus, INHoliday World & Splashin' Safari developer Bill Koch was honored today when members of the Indiana House and Senate voted unanimously to rename a portion of Indiana 162 the "W.A. Koch Memorial Highway."

The legislative resolution authored by Respresentative Russ Stillwell and sponsored by Senator Richard Young now awaits Governor O'Bannon's signature.

The resolution calls for the stretch of Indiana 162 from Gentryville through Lincoln City and Santa Claus, to Interstate 64 south of Ferdinand to be renamed in honor of Koch.

"My father devoted his life to making southern Indiana a better place to live, work and play," says Koch's eldest son, Will. "It means the world to my family to have an Indiana highway named in his memory. We've been told the new highway signs will go up in time for the summer tourist season."

William Albert Koch, Sr., who passed away last September, is remembered as a man of great vision and integrity. Koch is well known for the development of Santa Claus Land, the world's first theme park that is now called Holiday World & Splashin' Safari.

He is also remembered for establishing Christmas Lake Village, a rural community designed to reverse Spencer County's population drain, Koch took risks to fulfill his dream of developing the town of Santa Claus into an exceptional place to live and visit.

In 1962, Koch was present when President John Kennedy signed legislation creating the Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial in nearby Lincoln City, Indiana.

Koch was also instrumental in persuading the federal government to reroute Interstate 64 so that when it was built in the 1970s it would run through extreme southern Indiana.

One of his final projects was the upcoming rerouting and expansion of U.S. 231 through Spencer County.