These people want to play pointless games they should have played back in 2010, now they need to get it in their heads that they likely have one of three choices: 1. Ed Hart. 2. Someone no one has heard of before whom has little to no track record (ala the people whom have tried to reopen SFNO). 3. Scrapping it.
They will either have to get it that they will either have to put some money down to get it to reopen, or spend money to tear it down.
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.
The Kentucky State Fair Board voted Thursday to go through a formal process to find another company to run the former amusement park at the state-owned Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville, despite another proposal being presented to the fair board a day earlier by former park operator Ed Hart.
At its regular monthly meeting, the fair board, which manages the expo center, unanimously approved issuing a request for proposals for an operator to take over the former Kentucky Kingdom theme park, which has been closed for nearly three years.
Governor wanted RFP
Ron Carmicle, chairman of the Kentucky State Fair Board, said the board had sought guidance about Kentucky Kingdom from Gov. Steve Beshear. As a result, he said, he was called to Beshear’s office on Wednesday and the governor gave him a letter that requested that the board issue an RFP for a park operator. Carmicle said he was aware that Hart’s group dropped off an outline of a proposal at 4:45 p.m. on Wednesday and said he had read the outline. But he said the board will not consider Hart’s latest proposal unless Hart submits a plan through the RFP process. If the board considered it separately from other responses, he said, it “may taint the RFP process.”
Beshear said that, for some time, he has been uncomfortable with the fact that the fair board did not go through the RFP process in its earlier attempts to secure a lease and operating agreement for the former Kentucky Kingdom property. At this point, he said, it is important to “cast a wide net” and determine whether it remains economically feasible for an operator to reopen the amusement park. “We need to determine whether an operation like that is going to be in our future … whether it is feasible, whether folks have enough interest in it to think that they can make a profit at it,” he said. “And we need to determine that one way or another. If not, if we can’t find anybody that can make us a good deal, I think we need to move on and decide what else we can do with that property.”
Hart said in a Thursday morning interview that he is not necessarily interested in participating in the RFP process because he believes it would cause a delay and his group’s goal is to open in 2014. Hart, through his Kentucky Kingdom Redevelopment Co., previously tried to secure a lease agreement with the fair board to redevelop and run the park. The board cut ties with Hart in September 2011 after 18 months of negotiations.
The former Kentucky Kingdom closed in 2009. Previous park owner Six Flags Inc. abandoned its lease there in February 2010 amid bankruptcy proceedings. Park rides reportedly have not received proper maintenance and care since that time.
Hart proposes $40 million investment
The board’s decision to issue an RFP comes two months after the Koch family, owners of the Holiday World and Splashin’ Safari amusement park in Santa Claus, Ind., abruptly withdrew their plan to redevelop the park. They had planned to reopen it as a venue called Bluegrass Boardwalk. Bluegrass Boardwalk Inc. CEO Natalie Koch said in a June 15 news release that “many layers of governmental regulations and stipulations” led to the decision to abandon the project. The Koch family has declined to comment further.
Hart’s proposal calls for a $40 million investment, with $10 million in cash provided by the partners and a $30 million bank loan that would be guaranteed by the state. Hart’s partners in the proposal are Mary Moseley, CEO of The Al J. Schneider Co.; Bruce Lunsford, CEO of Lunsford Capital and a partner with Hart in Hart-Lunsford Pictures LLC; and Ed Glasscock, chairman emeritus of Frost Brown Todd LLC law firm. They have joined Hart’s redevelopment company as members, he said. Hart said his group proposed a lease that would be similar to “the Holiday World lease.” The agreement with Bluegrass Boardwalk Inc. was for a 50-year lease with a base rent of $400,000 per year, beginning in 2013, and escalated amounts until 2016, when the base amount would have risen to $1 million annually.
Hart group would be considered
Beshear said Hart’s group would be welcomed to participate in the RFP process, which he expects to last about 45 to 60 days. He added that he would not be comfortable with a proposal that requires a significant investment from the state or would require the state to assume the bulk of the risk for the investment. Specifically, he noted that the Hart proposal calls for the state to guarantee a $30 million loan. “I don’t know if the taxpayers want to do something like that or not,” Beshear said. “But we are going to be open to all comers in terms of proposals, and we are going to just take them and review them and see if anything make sense.” Beshear also said he is not sure the park could reopen in 2014, even under Hart’s proposal.
Fair board president Harold Workman said he expects the RFP will be issued in about two weeks. He added that he would expect Hart’s group to respond to the RFP. Asked whether other operators might be interested in running the park, he said he received multiple inquiries from interested parties after Bluegrass Boardwalk pulled out of the project. Workman said it would difficult to estimate how many responses might be submitted. “We’re just looking for one great opportunity.” Companies interested in responding to the RFP will be able to make site visits and inspect the property and the rides before making their proposals, Workman said.
Change the scheme, Alter the mood! Electrify the boys and girls if you would be so kind!
Apparently Hart decided to resubmit his proposal. I'm waiting for the article to pop up on wlky.com but I seriously doubt anything is going to go through and have this park open again. It just needs to be put out of it's misery.
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!
State government is looking for developers interested in operating a theme park at the Kentucky Exposition Center.
A “request for proposals” was issued Monday by the Kentucky Finance and Administration Cabinet on behalf of the Kentucky State Fair Board, which oversees the state-owned fairgrounds in Louisville where the former Kentucky Kingdom amusement park has sat shuttered since 2009. Responses are due in Frankfort by 4 p.m. Oct. 19. Fair board President Harold Workman expects multiple responses and he has received expressions of interest from several unnamed potential theme park operators in recent months.
One response was promised Tuesday by a group led by Louisville businessman Ed Hart, who was Kentucky Kingdom’s chief executive for about a decade prior to its sale to the Six Flags organization in 2000. Hart negotiated with the fair board for months about reopening Kentucky Kingdom, before Workman cut off talks last October.
After that, the owners of Holiday World made a try at operating a fairgrounds park before dropping the effort.
Then earlier this summer Hart announced yet another attempt to reopen the park, this time with new partners in a company he calls Kentucky Kingdom Redevelopment Co. Instead of negotiating exclusively with Hart, however, the fair board last month voted to solicit interest from all potential operators.
Hart’s new partners are Mary Moseley, the head of Al J. Schneider Co., which owns the Galt House and other local office and hotel properties; Bruce Lunsford, Hart’s frequent business partner and fellow investor; and Ed Glasscock, a retired lawyer and civic leader.
Hart said he wants to reopen the park in 2014. Hart’s group would put $10 million in equity into the park and then borrow another $30 million.
The request for proposals will be evaluated by a committee selected by the finance cabinet, but the decision on the vendor by state Finance Secretary Lori Flanery will be final.
The document lists these “deal breakers — prohibitions”:
Any response will not be evaluated if it relies on funds to be appropriated by the General Assembly.
The response cannot propose any private ownership interest in any of the property located on the park grounds. All the land and improvements are owned by the state and must remain state property.
The response cannot mandate that the state be responsible for curing any default on behalf of the operator.
The responses are to include a financial plan and an operational plan that “describes the respondent’s general vision and implementation scheme.” The responses are to include proposed terms for a lease and states that tourism tax incentives and local financial incentives would be available on a negotiated basis.
Change the scheme, Alter the mood! Electrify the boys and girls if you would be so kind!
The Save My Park website that, Ed Hart and others have put up for the saving of Kentucky Kingdom. In the video, they show a TPR group photo, and it really showed me how much this park is needed. I hope Ed can open it up again, but I know it will take a lot of money and time. Linky: http://www.savemypark.com/
So the state wants a private developer to come in, give them ZERO assistance for land that they own, make them FULLY pay to repair rides the state owns and has done NOTHING to maintain, not give the developer ANY ownership/property rights for their investment, and then sit back and rake in money from a lease that will make it VERY difficult for a developer to make their money back a grow the business, all while not agreeing to back the developer when it does fail because the state sets them up for it? Riiiiiight.
And Ed Hart STILL wants in? He should probably check his ego at the door...
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