I live here, and my throught is that I'll believe it is happening when the gates open to the public and the rides are running. Until then, I haven't really followed the news about it. I would love to have a park here in town, but then again in the several years I lived here that it was open, I only went twice.
I would really like to see them take the park in the same direction as Holiday World, Dollywood, or Silver Dollar City. Obviously they don't have the same geographic similarities, but they can apply the similar concepts which would work well, I think.
I drove past the park last night. I have not been past the park in a while because I've been away at school. What is interesting is that all of the parks lights where on when I drove past. Most of the lights haven't been on since 2009, From the stadium behind T2 all the way do the stations lights on Twisted Twins and Mile High Falls. (I have not seen the lights on from that area since 2007). It gave me a feeling that life was in the park right then in there. I know there was a news story about the lights being on from last October, but that was only the front of the park, The entire park was not lighted up at the point of time. I will try to have pictures soon.
It’s going to cost more than planned to get Kentucky Kingdom in shape, but developer Ed Hart said Monday he is confident the park will reopen as expected in 2014.
A public hearing is scheduled Friday on state incentives and Hart expects financing to be in place within 60 days.
“It will be more expensive than originally thought. ... That said, we are still prepared to move forward, once the financing arrangements are completed,” Hart said in a statement Monday, in response to a request for comment about the park’s condition. "Our team has been on property for almost two months. Yes, there is more deterioration than when we were last on the site almost two years ago,” Hart said of Kentucky Kingdom, which last operated in 2009. He concluded, however, that “we wouldn't be involved, if we couldn't return Kentucky Kingdom to 'like new' condition, making it better than ever."
Hart declined to comment beyond the statement, and his spokeswoman, Susan McNeese Lynch, declined to elaborate.
The pending request for state financial help, if approved, would be the last portion of the public incentive package sought by Hart’s group. The Kentucky Tourism, Arts & Heritage Cabinet has scheduled a public hearing on Friday at 10 a.m. in the 24th floor conference room of the Capital Plaza Tower in Frankfort on the incentive application.
“No red flags have been raised” in regard to the request, said Todd Cassidy, executive director of the Office of Financial Incentives in the Department of Travel and Tourism. Cassidy said that Hart’s group is paying a consultant to examine whether the amusement-park project would meet incentive requirements, including that at least 25 percent of the park’s paid admissions be from out of state, that the project be open at least 100 days a year and that the project have a positive fiscal impact on the state.
Hart’s group is seeking $1 million a year in rebates of state sales taxes for 10 years.
If all goes well, Cassidy said the Kentucky Tourism Development Finance Authority will consider final approval of the state incentives on April 10.
Hart’s group has been granted a long-term lease on the fairgrounds property by the Kentucky State Fair Board, and it has until mid-May to decide whether to proceed. Hart’s goal is to have the park open in May 2014.
Under the lease, Hart and his partners — businessman Bruce Lunsford, lawyer Ed Glasscock and the Al J. Schneider Co. — have agreed to invest $45 million in park improvements by 2017 — $20 million in partner equity and $25 million in borrowed money. The group is obligated to spend at least $1 million a year on park upgrades.
The Louisville Metro Council in February approved a local financial-incentive package to aid Hart’s group. The city intends to provide up to $100,000 a year for 10 years in the form of rebated occupational taxes generated by the park's employment. The financing additionally calls for Hart’s group to get $100,000 a year for five years from the Louisville Convention & Visitors Bureau.
The state and local incentives will be used to help pay the debt on the $25 million the developers plan to borrow.
Hart has nearly a dozen staff assessing the park’s condition.
Hart operated the park for a decade up through the late 1990s before he sold it to Six Flags. Hart plans to add two major rides and double the size of the water park.
Hart plans to hire about 50 full-time park staff, with up to 1,000 seasonal employees when the park begins operating.
Six Flags abandoned its lease on the park in early 2010 after it filed bankruptcy.
Change the scheme, Alter the mood! Electrify the boys and girls if you would be so kind!
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