DOCTOR DOOM!!! wrote:^ Who said anything about Cedar Fair??! Kings Island is benefiting from this park being closed unless it was going to be water park only!
That's the point. Six Flags isn't going to come back to it. I think the Kochs are done with trying on this. I doubt Herschend would want it due to Dollywood and the Opryland project. The only remaining player whom has a lot of parks aside from Universal and Disney (which would never make such a move) is Cedar and they have nothing to gain from it reopening. If they want this to reopen, they need to accept the idea that they will probably loose some money on the deal, but the other choice is loosing everything when it sits like Rocky Point or Lincoln Park.
Nothing is definite until Six Flags officially announces it. Just like the purchase of my season pass and season parking. Not to be taken for granted.
LOUISVLLE, KY (WAVE) - Plans to reopen the defunct Kentucky Kingdom are moving forward again. The State Fair Board, on the suggestion of Governor Steve Beshear, is looking for proposals to find the right person to get those coasters rolling again.
The decision comes on the same day they denied a proposal from the Kentucky Kingdom Redevelopment Commission. It's a group that includes businessman Ed Hart, who was an original operator of the park back in the 1980s and tried unsuccessfully to reopen it in 2010.
Board Chairman Ron Carmicle said having Ed Hart's group take over the park is not out of question, but right the board and the Governor have decided to start the process of reaching out to all parties interested in operating the part. "Let's have everybody step up that is interested in doing some kind of amusement center out here and we'll evaluate those and see if anything works," said Beshear.
The board says that can also include a proposal from Ed Hart and the Kentucky Kingdom Redevelopment Commission, even though they are not accepting their $40 million plan to reopen the park by 2014. "To suggest for a moment that there's parties out there that aren't aware Kentucky Kingdom has been closed for three years and they're going to jump forward now is a little disingenuous," said Hart when he learned of the board's decision.
While Board Chairman Carmicle said he's encouraged to know Hart's group is interested, Beshear says that $40 million isn't what it appears. He said they're only putting up $10 million and the state would have to give a $30 million loan. "If they don't want to guarantee it, but they want the tax payers to it kind of raises a question or two in my mind."
Hart said he has questions too, but about the state's intentions. "That $30 million is buying equipment and rides they can use as collateral for the loan." Hart said he's unsure if he'll resubmit his proposal. He said he wants to talk it over with his partners, including Bruce Lunsford, Mary Mosley and Ed Glasscock first.
Beshear and the board said they're optimistic they'll find the right operator for this round, but if not, while the board won't say what could happen, Beshear laid it out pretty clearly. "We need to plan for our future. I think it's time to as I say fish or cut bait."
Fair Board President Harold Workman said he's confident this time they'll find someone by the end of the year because they have the state working with them at the beginning of the process, rather than the end. Both Hart and the Koch family, owners of Holiday World, said they backed out of their past deals because of issues with the state's incentives.
Hart still has a pending lawsuit over that first attempt to reopen Kentucky Kingdom and said he doesn't know if his group will submit again.
The board really seems to be playing with fire here. How long has this hole saga been going on? A little too long if you ask me. I can understand them wanting whats financially best for them and the state. But they also must realize that the longer they take, the more expensive it will be to bring the park back to an operational condition.
Last edited by Stitch_101 on Fri Aug 17, 2012 6:37 am.
Gov. Steve Beshear said Thursday that by the fall the state may give up on using its property at the Kentucky Exposition Center for an amusement park. And less than 24 hours after proposing a $40 million investment to reopen the park in 2014, former park operator Ed Hart said he was rethinking the offer.
“I think it’s time we figure out whether an amusement park is in our future or not here. We’ve tried, we’ve tried,” Beshear said Thursday morning in an interview, before attending the commodity breakfast that opened the Kentucky State Fair. “Things just don’t seem to come together.”
The amusement park was abandoned after the 2009 season, and while investors have stepped forward - including another group this week - the rides have sat idle, with weeds growing around them. Six Flags abandoned the park lease with the Kentucky State Fair Board amid a bankruptcy filing in early 2010.
At Beshear’s direction, the fair board at a meeting later Thursday voted to issue a request for formal offers from companies interested in trying to resurrect the shuttered park.
The fair board’s decision to seek competitive proposals left Hart “very disappointed.”
Hart said in an interview that he isn’t sure he is interested in joining what is expected to be a competitive process and expressed serious concerns about further delays in opening the park that the process will produce.
“We do not have the luxury of time,” Hart said. “It will take every bit of 18 months to get the park opened. Any delay in selecting an operator could cause the park’s opening to be pushed back yet another year, to 2015. In the meantime, the park continues to deteriorate, making the reopening more expensive and more difficult.”
Hart and three partners on Wednesday afternoon offered to invest $40 million to reopen the fairgrounds ride and water park.
Fair board president Harold Workman said the fair board and state Finance & Administration Cabinet officials probably can prepare the request for proposals within 30 days, after which a 30- to 45-day period will be set aside for submissions. The fair board and finance officials would then probably select a preferred developer and try to negotiate a lease for the park.
Workman and fair board Chairman Ron Carmicle both said they expect multiple companies to bid on running the park. They said the fair board received several expressions of interest from potential operators after a deal with the Koch family, owners of Holiday World in Santa Claus, Ind., recently fell through.
The request for proposals comes two months after the Koch family abruptly walked away from plans to redevelop the park.
Speaking Thursday following a speech at the Galt House, Beshear said he didn’t fault the fair board for waiting until now to seek proposals for the park.
“I think everyone was regrouping after the Holiday World situation fell apart,” the governor told reporters. “I honestly think we probably would have been better off if we’d issued an RFP back when we first started talking” with Hart in 2010.
Beshear said he welcomed Hart’s newest proposal, but he also raised questions about the offer that calls for a $10 million investment and $30 million in loans that would be guaranteed by the state.
The loan guarantee by the state would put “the taxpayers on the hook,” Beshear said. “I don’t know how interested the taxpayers would be in the state taking that kind of risk.”
Beshear said the loan may seem risky to Hart’s group “because they don’t want to guarantee them, I guess, and that always makes you hesitate.”
Beshear said he hopes for a proposal where some entity wants to invest in and operate the property and share in the profits.
“We will put in our part,” he said. “We’ll have tourism tax credits, and the great thing about them is they’re performance based. … I think I like that kind of approach.”
But Beshear said if no amusement project works, the state needs to figure out something else to do with the land.
The fair board abruptly cut off negotiations with Hart in October of 2011 on his initial attempt to reopen the theme park. Workman said Hart had made unacceptable demands but never detailed them. Hart led a group that operated Kentucky Kingdom in the 1990s.
In his new offer, which fair board officials Thursday characterized as the “outline” of a proposal and not a formal proposal, Hart is joined by three prominent Louisvillians -- Mary Moseley, head of the Al J. Schneider Co., frequent Hart business partner Bruce Lunsford and Ed Glasscock, a local lawyer and civic leader.
They are doing business as Kentucky Kingdom Redevelopment Co. Hart said the new plan requires tourism tax credits that are available to developers of projects that promote tourism. The developer can reclaim some of their costs through a rebate of sales taxes the projects generate.
The Hart group’s plan asks for the state guarantee of the $30-million bank loan because the state would continue to own all of the assets, including any improvements made by Hart’s group. The theme park land, 57 acres, and equipment were appraised in 2011 as being worth at least $22 million “as is.”
In a letter to fair board chairman Carmicle Wednesday, Beshear said that any proposal to operate Kentucky Kingdom “should not presume that the commonwealth would make a significant capital investment in the property, as no authority exists for commitment of state funds for this purpose.”
In interviews after the fair board meeting, Marcheta Sparrow, Beshear’s tourism secretary and proxy on the fair board, and Workman both expressed doubts about the state’s legal ability to guarantee any theme park debt in case of default.
Sparrow said state law appears to prohibit an administration from committing state funds beyond the current biennium.
Hart said he and his partners will have to discuss whether to pursue the theme park deal under the request for proposal process planned by the fair board. But Carmicle said he would “highly encourage Hart to participate in the” request-for-proposal process.
In light of the expected new delays created by the competitive process, Moseley said that “we believe it is imperative to get Kentucky Kingdom reopened as soon as possible. It’s been closed for three years. We can’t wait any longer. Without Kentucky Kingdom, the hospitality and convention business could suffer.”
Lunsford added, “The state’s own economic impact study indicated that a reopened Kentucky Kingdom was a boon to the state’s economy. Why wouldn’t the state guarantee a loan for the development of its own property?”
Change the scheme, Alter the mood! Electrify the boys and girls if you would be so kind!
If I was Hart - I wouldn't touch the deal with a 10 foot pole at this point. Who, in their right mind, would want to work with this fair board. They are doing an RFP NOW? After no fewer than THREE OFFERS to re-open the park. I'm sorry - there is something incompetent or shady goin on there.
As much as I'd like to see the park re-open...under these idiots, nothing good would come of it.
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