Well, the park kept teens employed for the summer and off my streets for the better part of the day, it brought in tax revenue for the city which in turned help fund services. It helped give residents of the city something to do, especially for the crowds that don't care for zoos and not old enough to enjoy some of the more adult oriented activities (bars, clubs). It was not the best park, but it wasn't the worst. The park might not have been a travel destination that some others are (especially in the later years) but it was another option in a list of activities to do in the summer where you could generally have a good time, locally. Don't want to be fan-boyish over it, because I'm not, but that question seems to be motivated by personal opinion of the park from one or two visits from the Six Flags years. Did you ever get a chance to visit the park from 1995-1998?
There are only two knowns in life...you were born. and you are going to die. I say F*uck that, lets ride a coaster!
Businessman Ed Hart has put forward a third proposal for re-opening the Kentucky Kingdom theme park next year.
Hart first sought to renovate and re-open the park with a $50 million bond from the state. The General Assembly didn’t take up the issue. Hart then planned to use $20 million from the city this year and $30 million from the state next year to renovate the park. The city rejected that plan.
Hart has now promised to increase his own investment in the park and is seeking a $17.5 million bond from the city. Mayor’s spokesperson Chris Poynter says the money isn’t the biggest concern for Metro Government, it’s whether the state will contribute as well.
“The city government has no direct role in the fairgrounds or Kentucky Kingdom—it’s run by the state. So when the state decided not to help put money in, it was disappointing because we thought we could have a three-legged stool financially, with the state contributing some, the city contributing some and, obviously, the private developer contributing some,” he says. “It wasn’t necessarily the number, it was the risk factor for the city. So we need to really look at what are the revenue streams for the city. Is this a better deal for the taxpayers? And that’s what our chief financial officer and the mayor will be looking at in the next week.”
The revised proposal gives Metro Government more guaranteed revenue from the park. That money will also be delivered sooner than it would have under previous plans.
Change the scheme, Alter the mood! Electrify the boys and girls if you would be so kind!
Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer has proposed a plan for the city to issue $17.5 million in general-obligation bonds to get the Kentucky Kingdom amusement park reopened next year.
The bonds would be backed by an unnamed investor and occupational taxes and parking fees generated by the park at the Kentucky Exposition Center, according to a release issued by Chris Poynter, a spokesman for the mayor.
“It’s always been my goal to reopen Kentucky Kingdom because it’s a valuable tourist attraction and it will create jobs, but it needs to be a deal that is good for the city,” Fischer said.
The Louisville Metro Council must approve issuing the bonds.
The plan, presented Wednesday morning to Kentucky Kingdom investor Ed Hart and Kentucky State Fair Board President Harold Workman, involves much less risk to taxpayers than previous deals proposed by Hart, Fischer said in the release.
“The deal we have presented is fair to the city, to taxpayers and to Mr. Hart,” he said.The intent is to get the park open in a limited fashion by 2012. Getting it back to full operation in 2013 will require an additional bond issue by the state, according to Poynter.
The city’s proposal would work this way, according to the city’s release:
The plan would require an annual debt payment of $1.5 million over 20 years to pay off the $17.5 million in bonds.
The city would commit its portion of the occupational tax revenue collected at Kentucky Kingdom toward the bond payment — up to a maximum of $1 million. Any shortfall would be covered by the park from parking fees.
The remaining $500,000 of the $1.5 million annual installment would be paid by a third-party investor with a financial interest in Kentucky Kingdom, said Steve Rowland, the city’s chief financial officer, who structured the deal with Fischer and financial advisers.
The deal also would have the city share in profits if Kentucky Kingdom is ever sold.
Hart has been working for more than a year to try to get the park reopened since the Six Flags corporation closed it in 2009.
The Kentucky State Fair Board recently extended until Sept. 30 an agreement giving Hart the rights to try to reopen the park.
The fair board initially gave approval last year for Hart’s company to try to reopen the 60-acre park. The cost of redeveloping and refurbishing the park, including new rides and an enhanced water park, has been estimated at $50 million.
Hart could not be reached immediately to discuss the latest plan, but he previously offered to increase his investment in the park project from $3.4 million to $7 million and to make guarantees to reduce the risk to the city on a proposed $17.5 million bond issue.
An earlier plan to open the park with help from the state failed when the 2011 General Assembly declined to approve the bonds.
Kentucky State Fair Board President Harold Workman says he’s still hopeful that Kentucky Kingdom amusement park can be reopened in 2012. Workman told a panel of state lawmakers recently that the board and Louisville Metro Government are close to finalizing an agreement to re-open Kentucky Kingdom next year. He says it will take a total investment of about $50 to bring the park back to life. “We’re working on $23 million of local funds now that would be through bank loans and assistance from metro government to get the park open to about 80-85 percent for ’12,” he said.
Workman says he’ll ask the legislature for approximately $20 million in January. He thinks Kentucky Kingdom could draw as many as 750,000 visitors next year and provide employment for many people. The amusement park was closed in early 2010 after its previous owner, Six Flags, filed for bankruptcy.
Businessman Ed Hart has an agreement with the fair board to operate the park if funding is secured.
Change the scheme, Alter the mood! Electrify the boys and girls if you would be so kind!
The family that owns the Galt House and other Louisville hotel properties has agreed to guarantee as much as $20 million of any investment by Ed Hart in his effort to reopen the Kentucky Kingdom amusement park. The guarantee may help jump start stalled efforts to reopen the park, which shut down in fall 2009.
Hart has estimated it would take $20 million to get Kentucky Kingdom reopened on a limited scale, with a couple of new rides.
“If he (Hart) can get his financing together, yes, we think we can get Kentucky Kingdom open next summer, but time is of the essence,” Mary Moseley, head of the Al J. Schneider Cos. said Tuesday. Among the company’s holdings is the Galt House, as well as the Crowne Plaza Hotel, adjacent to the fairgrounds.
Hart has been granted rights by the Kentucky State Fair Board to try to reopen the fairgrounds park that Six Flags abandoned in early 2010 amid a bankruptcy filing.
Moseley, daughter of the late developer Al Schneider, was reluctant to discuss specifics about a potential arrangement with Hart. “We have to be careful. We are still in negotiations,” she said.
Hart didn’t return phone calls Tuesday but issued a statement through his spokeswoman, Susan McNeese Lynch, that said the Schneider organization “will be a terrific strategic partner in helping us to forge a mutually beneficial, public-private partnership which we have been working toward all along.”
Harold Workman, president of the Kentucky State Fair Board, which runs the state-owned expo center, has been at the center of the financial negotiations on the park. He didn’t return phone calls Tuesday .
Hart earlier this year approached the city about financial assistance, and Mayor Greg Fischer proposed in May that the city issue up to $17.5 million in general-obligation bonds for the theme park’s makeover. Fischer proposed that the bonds be backed primarily by occupational taxes and parking fees generated by the amusement park.
But Fischer also wanted the city to get a 30 percent share of the park’s net profits and other financial concessions.
Last month, city officials said the city probably would not sell the bonds because Hart had decided instead to try to pursue tourism tax credits from the state.
Gil Lawson, spokesman for the state Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet, said Tuesday that he can’t comment on discussions about tourism tax credits until a formal application is filed with the state. He said no such application has been filed.
Chris Poynter, Fischer’s spokesman, said Tuesday that the city remains “willing to be a partner. But it is out of our hands right now. We are continuing to work with the Fair Board, and our goal is to get the park open next summer.”
Moseley said an unidentified third party — not the mayor — brought together the Schneider organization, the fair board and Hart.
“We extended a hand,” she said. “We would guarantee $20 million — that those payments (the debt on any loans) will be paid. If he (Hart) can’t make them, we would. We would guarantee that Ed Hart will pay the loan off. We are there, if he wants us.”
Moseley said she wants Kentucky Kingdom to reopen because “it would be a good thing for the city and the state. It would provide a lot of jobs and work for a lot of vendors. It affects tourism and a lot of conventions that we have in.”
Moseley said many convention planners want the amusement park as an activity for their delegates. And Moseley acknowledged that the park would be a boon for Crowne Plaza, where many people stay while attending conventions at he fairgrounds.
Hart or the Fair Board is expected to seek funding, or some form of financial aid, from the 2012 General Assembly to make some major improvements to the amusement park, especially enlarging the water park. The longer range goal is to have an expanded park operating in 2013.
Hart has already spent more than $3 million on the park venture, some of which went to acquire land owned by Six Flags. Hart has said he is spending more than $100,000 a month in maintaining and securing the park’s facilities.
During the summer the park usually employed about 1,000 people, many of them teenagers.
Based on this article in Loiusville Courier-Journal, it sounds like Ed Hart is actually close to finally getting the financing to open Kentucky Kingdom!
Businessman Ed Hart said he is “close to an agreement” on securing a $23 million bank loan toward his effort to reopen the Kentucky Kingdom amusement park at the Kentucky Exposition Center.
Hart has been given rights — until Sept. 30 — by the Kentucky State Fair Board to negotiate a lease to operate the park.
With the abandoned park across Phillips Lane as a backdrop, Hart said at a news conference Tuesday at the Crowne Plaza hotel that he is waiting for the Fair Board to offer him lease terms that he can accept.
He said he would be receptive to an extension of the lease commitment but emphasized that time is growing short to meet his and the board’s goal to reopen the park next spring. Hart said he would consider waiting to open the park until 2013, if the lease conditions are right.
Hart said the $23 million loan would be provided by two local banks. He declined to disclose the terms, but said it would be a 15-year deal. He said the banks have asked not to be named until the deal on the park’s reopening is final.
The loan would be guaranteed by his new partner, the Al J. Schneider Cos., which owns the Crowne Plaza, the Galt House and other area commercial property.
Hart previously put $3 million into the park project, some of which went to acquire land owned by Six Flags, the amusement park operator that abandoned Kentucky Kingdom in early 2010 amid a bankruptcy filing. Hart said at the news conference Tuesday that he has now increased his equity investment to $5.6 million.
In addition, Hart has spent more than $1 million to date to pay for the ongoing costs of security, repair, maintenance and other expenses related to the park.
Hart said the Fair Board has been cooperative in its talks but that a final lease agreement remains elusive. He acknowledged that now that he has put additional equity into the venture, he expects additional lease concessions beyond what he originally sought.
Fair board president Harold Workman didn’t immediately return a phone call Tuesday. But he told state legislators in late August that he expected the Kentucky Kingdom to be open next spring, barring some unforeseen occurrence.
Hart said, “Assuming a lease agreement is reached, (our) goal has always been to reopen Kentucky Kingdom in 2012. However, we are subject to the production schedules of the national and international suppliers who will provide new rides for the park, as well as the parts to refurbish existing rides. Time is running out.”
Hart said the only participation he is asking from Louisville Metro Government is a $300,000 a year payment toward the loan debt for 15 years.
Last spring Mayor Greg Fischer offered that the city might issue as much at $17.5 million in bonds to help finance Kentucky Kingdom’s reopening, but he set terms that Hart apparently found unacceptable.
On Tuesday Fischer spokesman Chris Poynter said Fischer has now agreed to provide toward the park’s loan debt 1 percent of all occupational-tax revenue that the city collects from park employees. That would likely generate less than the $300,000 per year sought by Hart, Poynter acknowledged.
The park would likely generate about 1,000 summer jobs per year in addition to several dozen permanent jobs.
Poynter said he didn’t think the commitment of the tax revenue would require Louisville Metro Council approval. Most council members have made the park’s reopening a priority.
Hart said his Kentucky Kingdom Redevelopment Co. is “close to an agreement on private sector funding” of nearly $29 million to reopen the park. However, it needs the Kentucky State Fair Board’s cooperation to seal the deal, he said.
A year and a half ago, the Fair Board selected Hart as its choice to reopen the theme park, a state-owned facility that last operated in the fall of 2009. The Fair Board’s next regularly scheduled meeting will be Sept. 22 — just over a week before the current interim agreement is to expire.
The initial $28.6 million investment would go to expand the Kentucky Kingdom water park and add several new family-style rides.
But Hart envisions what will eventually be a $50 million project for redeveloping the park. That level of investment would require the Fair Board’s asking the 2012 General Assembly to invest about $20 million more, probably via a bond issue, in the park venture. At that level, the park would get several new roller coasters and be marketed as a regional attraction.
Mary Moseley, president of the Schneider organization, said, “We have great confidence in Ed Hart and his team of professionals. They’ve turned failed theme parks around before, and we know they can do it again.”
Last edited by larrygator on Thu Sep 15, 2011 7:58 am.
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