Sat Apr 24, 2010 2:51 pm
Sat Apr 24, 2010 3:38 pm
Thu May 06, 2010 9:16 pm
The former Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom will stay closed this summer. But it could re-open with a new operator next year. The man in charge of finding a new operator says he and others are already looking ahead to 2010.
In its prime, more than a million visitors a year walked through Kentucky Kingdom's gates to enjoy thrill rides and the water park. Last year, attendance was about half that, according to state fair board president and CEO Harold Workman. This year, the state fair board landlords will keep the park locked up. "As bad as we would have loved to see it turned around immediately, it just is too big and too massive and too complicated," Workman said, after speaking with metro council members Thursday.
One member asked if the fair board could reopen a portion of Kentucky Kingdom this summer. "I was just hoping they could at least just open the water park and as we heard today, that was all part of the package, and we can't separate that out," said Vickie Aubrey Welch, D-District 13.
Workman told metro council members as many as six operators are interested in running the park. He hopes to narrow them to two by later this summer -- and negotiate a long-term lease. "We do anticipate it will be open in '11 under some scenario." Workman said any new operator would want to spend millions to spruce up the place, from new rides and attractions to a fresh coat of paint. "Not that they want to spend millions of dollars ... they're going to have to."
"You have to bring in something new and exciting every year," Workman said. That's a challenge that became harder for Six Flags, which operated Kentucky Kingdom for most of last year in the midst of bankruptcy. It closed the park suddenly in February and emerged from bankruptcy on Monday.
As for any new operator, Workman says taxpayers may be asked to help -- through tax incentives or bonds that are essentially long-term loans. Lawsuits over who owns the rides on the property and other residual issues will keep all of the park closed until next year.
No Kentucky Kingdom this year also brings the loss of about a thousand jobs.
Harold Workman would not say if any of the interested parties are local.
Fri May 07, 2010 12:59 pm
According to this report, there is really no chance of Kentucky Kingdom opening in any way for the 2010 season, but they are very hopeful that something can be worked out with a new operator in time for the 2011 season. Now they don’t mention it in the article, but if you watch the video, the last minute of it talks about how the Fairgrounds is now asking for either money from Six Flags to be reimbursed for the loss of Chang or to have Chang brought back to the park. Since they were the ones to give Six Flags full permission to remove the ride in the first place… and in addition to the fact that Chang was placed entirely on property that Six Flags owned in full… and not on Fairgrounds property, I don’t think they’ve got a snowball’s chance in hell of getting Chang back.
Sun May 16, 2010 7:26 pm
Tue May 25, 2010 4:34 pm
Fair board to consider new amusement park operator
BY SHELDON S. SHAFER • SSHAFER@COURIER-JOURNAL.COM • MAY 25, 2010
The Kentucky State Fair Board Thursday will consider selection of a new operator for the closed Kentucky Kingdom amusement park at the Kentucky Exposition Center.
Fair Board president Harold Workman said he will recommend a new operator to the fair board at its monthly meeting. But he ruled out any chance of getting the park reopened this year.
The Six Flags chain, which is in bankruptcy proceedings, shut down the park in early February, after asking the fair board that it be allowed to operate the park rent-free through the term of its lease than ran until 2019.
Workman said Tuesday that six potential park operators inquired about reopening Kentucky Kingdom. He said representatives of three of the companies visited the park and that two of the three recently submitted proposals for reopening the park. He said he is recommending one of them to the fair board.
He declined to name the recommended operator, but he said he wouldn't recommend a company unless it was well experienced in the amusement-park business.
Once the board approves the potential operator, Workman said he will try to negotiate a lease with the company. That negotiation process will probably take at least 60 days, he said.
The bankruptcy court must still make a decision on what will happen to rides on 15 acres of the park still owned by Six Flags. The fair board claims ownership of the rides on 45 acres it had been leasing to Six Flags.
Workman said Tuesday that it would be difficult, but perhaps not impossible, to reopen only the 45-acre portion of the park that the fair board owns. He said he believes, however, that Six Flags would be a willing sell its 15 acres, if a deal could be struck with either the fair board or a new operator. A few rides span both the Six Flags and fair board property.
Workman said any company that wants to take over the park probably will invest a substantial sum in upgrading the offerings.
The lease called for Six Flags to pay $1.185 million in rent this year to the fair board. In addition, the fair board was in line to receive about $450,000 from parking fees paid by amusement park visitors. Six Flags got none of the parking revenue.
Louisville city officials and officials of the Louisville Convention & Visitors Bureau say they desperately want the park reopened. In addition to being a boost for tourism, the park provided about 1,000 summer jobs.
Reporter Sheldon S. Shafer can be reached at (502) 582-7089.
Wed May 26, 2010 7:30 pm
Wed May 26, 2010 8:52 pm
Wed May 26, 2010 10:03 pm
Thu May 27, 2010 2:48 am