The investors intending to open the Bluegrass Boardwalk amusement park, formerly Kentucky Kingdom, received preliminary approval Wednesday from a state board considering financial incentives for the venture.
The park is on schedule to begin operating in May 2013, with predictions that it will attract 600,000 people in its first year.
“We have the dollars, vision, skills and experience to transform this park into a jewel for Kentucky,” said Natalie Koch, one of the four people who formed Bluegrass Boardwalk Inc. The Koch family also owns Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari water park in Santa Claus, Ind., and in February received preliminary approval of a lease to run the former Kentucky Kingdom from the Kentucky State Fair Board.
The Kochs received an initial clearance Wednesday from the Kentucky Tourism Development Finance Authority of their request for $3.9 million in tourism tax credits toward the cost of opening the park at the Kentucky Exposition Center, which last operated in 2009 and was abandoned amid a bankruptcy by the Six Flags organization.
The next step will be for a consultant to conduct an economic-impact study of the project to make sure it meets the statutory requirements for the tax credits. Requirements include that the park be open at least 100 days a year, that it draw at least 25 percent of its visitors from out of state and that it has a positive economic impact on the state’s general fund.
Gil Lawson, spokesman for the state cabinet that includes tourism, said the tourism authority will probably meet in about two months to give final review to the tax-credit application, or after the study is completed. The Kochs hope to get a rebate of $3.9 million, or 25 percent of their planned $15.6 million initial investment in the project. The money is claimed in annual installments over 10 years in the form of a rebate on state sales tax the project generates.
Dan Koch, chief executive officer of Holiday World and one of the Bluegrass Boardwalk partners, said the Kochs have lined up the major mortgage for the venture. He declined to name the lender.
The Kochs estimate annual attendance will rise to nearly 800,000 in 10 years. In its first year, the park expects to employ about 25 full-time and 800 seasonal workers, generating a first-annual payroll of $4.7 million. The return to the fair board under the lease the first year will be about $880,000, and then increase annually, the Kochs said.
The Kochs said the park will be marketed largely to metro Louisville, Southern Indiana and Ohio. They said Bluegrass Boardwalk will offer free soft drinks, sunscreen, rafts and inner tubes.
I look forward to see what they will do with the place. I remember going there with TPR in 2007 (shortly after the "incident" on Superman) and really enjoyed the park.
Is it just me, or is the biggest barrier to this property the City and State? At this juncure, politics and beuacracy seem to be what has bogged the whole process down, both for Mr. Hart and for the Koch's.
^From my point of view, sort of, yes. That's what it has been looking like. But it seems more like the fault was driven by the KY State Fair Board (unless you count them as politics and what-not).
And to itsasamccormick, great photos! I drove by the park as well last August, except it took me about 30 minutes. I didn't get to see roller skater, but I did see how a lot of the other rides in their conditions that day. Quite sad.
FYI, I have heard that people have snuck into the park once or twice.
The Bluegrass Boardwalk group has been granted preliminary approval for state tax incentives this week, bringing the amusement park one step closer to opening. The group is owned by Indiana’s Koch family, which also operates Holiday World in Indiana. The Kentucky State Fair Board agreed to lease the former Kentucky Kingdom property to the Koch’s earlier this year.
Bluegrass Boardwalk has been been tentatively approved this week by the Tourism Development Finance Authority for nearly $4 million in tourism tax credits, but it depends on meeting certain goals.
The state must now order an economic impact statement to finalize the group’s plans, said Gil Lawson, spokesman for the Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet. “We’re estimating that will take about two months. Once that’s complete the results of the study then come back to the authority for review and then for consideration for final approval,” said Lawson.
The Kochs released their goals for the next 10 years, which include growth in payroll, attendance and jobs (see below). Bluegrass Boardwalk still expects to open in May of next year and to remain open for 106 days in 2013.
Goal: Open Bluegrass Boardwalk in May, 2013, with revitalized rides and water park.
Provide: Safe, clean, friendly, fun experience for families, with “freebies” including free soft drinks, free sunscreen and free use of inner tubes.
First year investment: $15.6 million. Additional investments will be made by Bluegrass Boardwalk, Inc., each year to ensure steady attendance growth.
First year’s schedule: Open for 106 days in 2013.
Destination Marketing: Staff will work with area tourism entities to create and promote destination marketing programs to ensure at least 25% of attendance will be from out of state.
Projected Attendance Growth: 600,000 in 2013, growing to 782,864 in 2022.
Projected Job Creation: 25 fulltime/805 seasonal in 2013, growing to 43 and 976 in 2022.
Projected Payroll: $4.7 million in 2013, growing to $6.1 million in 2022.
Projected State Fair Board Revenue: $880,000 in 2013, growing to $1.8 million in 2022.
Change the scheme, Alter the mood! Electrify the boys and girls if you would be so kind!
As for me, I'm all for this park to reopen as Bluegrass Boardwalk because an amusement park is a terrible thing to let go to waste. 'Tis a pity that it won't be opening this year because I'll be heading in that direction on my way to St. Louis.
As for the pictures, we saw pictures of Greezed Lighting, The Roller Skater, Twisted Twins, and T2. Too bad you couldn't get any pictures of Thunder Run (because it's buried deep inside the middle of the park), but according to the roller coaster data base (in which I've been using so I don't get the coaster names mixed up) the coaster is still there. Now I'm wondering what other flat rides are still there and what more will the new company add to this new Bluegrass Boardwalk since there were quite a few attractions that took up alot of space that Six Flags took out before they lefted for good?
I know the answer: wait and see.
I wish them the best of luck to reopen this park because (do I need to say it again?) an amusement park is a terrible thing to let go to waste.
"Actually, a bed with a soft pillow on top is a terrible thing to let go to waste, and that's what you've been doing, buster!"
Yeah, it does seem a little low, but if they are just planning on getting the place opened and running again it would probably be enough, might even be able to add something new to the water park. I think I'm most interested in seeing if they keep the park layout basically as is or if they do a major overhaul and expand the water park into the old Chang land plot (or elsewhere).
These pages are in no way affiliated with nor endorsed by SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, Cedar Fair, Legoland, Merlin Entertainment, Blackstone, Tussaud's Group, Six Flags, Universal Theme Parks, the Walt Disney Company or any other theme park company.
photos and videos on this website were taken with the permission of the park by
a professional ride photographer.
For yours and others safety, please do not attempt to take photos or videos at
parks without proper permission.
You need a sense of humor to view our site,
if you don't have a sense of humor, or are easily offended, please turn back
Most of the content on this forum is suitable for all ages. HOWEVER! There may be some content that would be considered rated "PG-13." Theme Park Review is NOT recommended for ages under 13 years of age.