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Kentucky Kingdom (SFKK, KK) Discussion Thread

P. 401: Herschend Enterprises named majority partner and park operator

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They can just call on Intamin to redo the coaster

There's no way that Intamin would be able to help a Schwarzkopf, and the best I know right now is Gerstrauer, because they could retrofit the decaying trains, but Intamin? No.

If there was money involved, I'm sure they'd take the gig!

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It's neither cheap, easy, or practical to dig a 100 foot deep tunnel. Apparently Roller Coaster Tycoon is catching on again.

Herschend was and is a different brand than Six Flags.   There is one certainty. Kentucky Kingdom will not be receiving a launched wooden roller coaster any time soon.

Yeah, I think the only 'concern' is because people see this park going more the way of Celebration City or Wild Adventures than becoming the next SDC or Dollywood.  I think it will stay pretty much th

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^Very true indeed. But who in the world would redo all the mechanics? Premier could add LIMs, but that would destroy the historical significance of the ride.

Let me show you the amount of people who walk into a park like Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom on the average day who care about the "historical significance" of a ride...


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^^ If you look in the distance, you can see two or three coaster enthusiasts standing in the distance! Not saying I'm one of them since I'm not, I just love riding the coaster.


Anyways, this popped up on the Save My Park website.


Louisville, KY — Kentucky Kingdom Redevelopment Company (KKRC) today released its response to the state’s Request for Proposals to reopen and operate Kentucky Kingdom. KKRC is a partnership consisting of Louisville investors Ed Hart, Ed Glasscock, Bruce Lunsford, and the Al J. Schneider Company (represented by its President, Mary Moseley).


Commenting on KKRC’s proposal, Ed Hart remarked, “In addition to responding to the specific questions the state posed in the RFP, we included a detailed business, marketing, and financing plan, as well as an executive summary of that plan, so the state would have the most thorough explanation possible of our vision for Kentucky Kingdom. We are making all of this information available to the public and we encourage any other bidders to make their proposals public as well. After all, Kentucky Kingdom is owned by the taxpayers of Kentucky and they have a right to know what’s going on. As noted in a number of news reports, many people are concerned that the state’s decision-making process for Kentucky Kingdom has been less than transparent.”


The highlights of KKRC’s proposal are as follows:


  • KKRC is making a $120-million commitment to restore Kentucky Kingdom as a full-fledged regional theme park ($50 million in start-up funding and $70 million over the term of the lease with the state).
  • A reopened Kentucky Kingdom will yield $521 million in net new economic benefits for the Commonwealth of Kentucky and $35 million in net new fiscal benefits for Metro Louisville over a 30-year period.
  • Including the jobs it will stimulate in the hospitality industry and construction trades, Kentucky Kingdom will produce, on average, 2,150 full-time equivalent jobs annually. The park itself will directly produce 60 full-time jobs and, in addition, will employ more than 700 people in seasonal positions each year.
  • KKRC will restore 37 theme park rides and water attractions at Kentucky Kingdom. In addition, it will return the park’s more than 100 buildings to first-class condition.
  • KKRC will add four new theme park rides, including a spectacular new $15-million roller coaster, the first coaster to be introduced at Kentucky Kingdom in over a decade.
  • KKRC will double the size of Kentucky Kingdom’s water park by adding three new towers with multiple body, tube, and raft slides and a new 30,000-square-foot water attraction.
  • KKRC will also focus on beautifying the landscaping at Kentucky Kingdom, treating it as yet another important attraction for the park’s guests.
  • KKRC will offer affordable pricing, especially for season passes and the food at the park.

Hart added, “Our intent is to return Kentucky Kingdom to its previous position as the region’s top ride park, situated on beautifully landscaped grounds. Only Kings Island will have significantly more rides – about 30% more. But since Kings Island’s attendance is three times greater than Kentucky Kingdom’s, their guests often wait in long lines for the rides. Our guests won’t have those long waits. That translates to greater guest satisfaction – and that’s what builds attendance.”


When asked about Governor Beshear’s indications that Kentucky Kingdom should perhaps be demolished to make way for a better use, Bruce Lunsford said, “The Governor wants to permit casino gambling in Kentucky so the state doesn’t lose revenue to Indiana, Ohio, and Tennessee. I think the same thought process should apply to theme parks. We don’t have casino gambling right now, but we do have a great theme park. We don’t want to demolish a valuable state asset and thereby surrender even more revenue to those other states.”


Since he has been involved for almost three years in an effort to reopen Kentucky Kingdom, Ed Hart was asked whether he is getting frustrated with the process. Hart responded, “I am concerned that the Fair Board and state economic development and tourism officials have not shown more urgency about reopening Kentucky Kingdom, especially since they have repeatedly declared to the media that it is their number one priority.”


Hart added, “Including our response to the RFP, we have submitted a total of four proposals to the state. The first two were submitted prior to September 30, 2011, when the Fair Board, chaired by Ron Carmicle, abruptly ended the discussions with my company. At Governor Beshear’s request, we gave a third proposal to Mary Lassiter, Secretary of the Executive Cabinet and State Budget Director, on August 7, 2012. Shortly thereafter, the Governor instructed the Fair Board to seek other bidders, but encouraged me and my partners to submit our proposal as well. It has been somewhat frustrating.”


Mary Moseley added, “Kentucky Kingdom is essential to Louisville’s hospitality industry. Many hotels and motels rely on business generated by the theme park. To lose the park or see it reduced to a smaller operation that would not encourage overnight stays would really be a missed opportunity for Louisville. How is it that the nation’s 16th largest metropolitan market is content to let its theme park sit idle?”


Ed Glasscock summed up KKRC’s position, saying “We feel the Louisville Convention & Visitors Bureau, the Louisville delegation to the state legislature, and other local and state officials should be more active in supporting efforts to reopen Kentucky Kingdom, especially since re-opening the park is in the best interests of our state and our local community. Our proposal provides both substantial start-up capital and a program of continued annual reinvestment, which will ensure the park’s success. We have a seasoned local operator in Ed Hart, who has a proven track record. And last but not least, my partners and I, being Louisville residents, will be responsive to the community.”


Plucked highlights for those too lazy or those with too short of attention spans to read through:

  • They plan to add a $15 million dollar roller coaster if they take over.
  • They plan to restore the park's 37 rides and every building to high class.
  • They will expand the water park, adding a new tower and a 30,000 square ft. attraction.
  • If the park gets demolished, the governor wants to look into building a casino in Kentucky.

Edited by jedimaster1227
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*If the park gets demolished, the governor wants to look into building a casino in Kentucky.


And there's the reason why things have gone the way they have. They want to make it seem like there was no way the park could have ever been saved so they can build a casino. Might not be the worst trade off at this point.

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*If the park gets demolished, the governor wants to look into building a casino in Kentucky.


And there's the reason why things have gone the way they have. They want to make it seem like there was no way the park could have ever been saved so they can build a casino. Might not be the worst trade off at this point.



Why can't Kentucky do both? As an Arkansas resident, I'm sick of money flowing to the Indian Casinos in Oklahoma, Casinos in dumps like Sheveport, in the middle of cotton patches ofTunica Mississippi and across the bridge in Helena on floating barges. All the while, a town that was famous for it called Hot Springs could boom from it but I don't see how that would effect Magic Springs or vice versa.

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^^Now it makes sense. I bet they already have a secret backroom deal in place for a casino as soon as no one can meet the terms of their RFP.

Edited by Jew
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Come on guys, don't give up hope, Casino's need roller coasters and wave pools too!


Gambling has been a hot topic in Kentucky for a long time now and there has always been a big push to get slots and some other casino gaming legalized at the horse tracks to boost revenues and compete with tracks in other states. I know that a few tracks in KY now have these horse racing "slot machines" called gaming machines where basically the outcomes of previous horse races are loaded into these machines that you play like a slot machine and you win if you draw the winning horse, "instant racing" is a term I have seen used before (basically a way for the horse racing commission to add slots without getting approval from the government). There is a lot of money that gets spent every year at casinos just over the border in Cincinnati and Indiana that could very well stay in KY if the casino's get legalized, and having a giant shiny new facility on state owned property seems like a perfect way to take that first step.

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Has anyone read the KKRC RFP Response? Under section II. Patron Experience on page 6, I stumbled across an interesting bullet point:


"• Restore all of the existing rides, with the exception of the shuttle loop coaster (Greezed Lightnin’), which is

prohibitively costly to repair."


It's sad and unfortunate but judging by the age and condition of the ride, along with the high stakes of trying to get this park back open, I can understand why the KKRC would make that final determination. Goodbye GL...


*Edit: Upon further reading also found this little nugget (located on page 27):


"...The first order of business is to find a suitable replacement for Chang. Working with the industry’s leading

supplier of cutting-edge roller coasters, KKRC is planning a spectacular new coaster that combines the best features of both Chang and the Hellevator. The price tag for the new coaster (including installation) will be $15 million. It will be the first new coaster introduced at Kentucky Kingdom in more than a decade and is expected to garner a great deal of attention in the media, both locally and nationally."


p31- THE IMPORTANCE OF MARQUEE RIDES: "This was proven in 1997, when the former Kentucky Kingdom (before its sale to Six Flags) unveiled Chang, the tallest stand-up steel roller coaster in the world at the time and built by one of the top roller coaster manufacturers in the world, Bolliger & Mabillard of Switzerland. (This is the same manufacturer that will supply the new coaster planned for installation at Kentucky Kingdom in 2015.)"


Sounds like a mini B&M Dive Machine; vertical drop, similar height to Chang, and $15 mil USD is right around the price of Krake at Heide Park.

Edited by mudvayneimn
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"...The first order of business is to find a suitable replacement for Chang. Working with the industry’s leading

supplier of cutting-edge roller coasters, KKRC is planning a spectacular new coaster that combines the best features of both Chang and the Hellevator.


Hmm--crossing a coaster with a drop ride like Hellavator. Sounds a bit like Verbolten or Thirteen to me.

Edited by cfc
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That depends on what section of the property we're discussing. The very front section of the park has a height limit of around 180 ft. The further back you go, the lower the height limit is; it's actually quite wonky. By the way page 90 indicates the park (in the slim chance it does open again) would install a family wooden coaster, and a 135 ft "Vertical Swing". There are also photos of the new water rides they would like to install.


*Edit: Here is a screenshot that shows the plans for new additions. It looks like the family wooden coaster would be placed in the Greezed Lightnin' and old RRE spot.


Park Plans found on pg. 99/100.

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I just briefly read through the report and it is very detailed, and seems to be reasonable. I still don't have a lot of hope of the place opening again, but if it does this plan seems like a good place to start.

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There is a lot of money that gets spent every year at casinos just over the border in Cincinnati and Indiana that could very well stay in KY if the casino's get legalized, and having a giant shiny new facility on state owned property seems like a perfect way to take that first step.


The casino here in Cincinnati is still under construction. But we're definitely gearing up to take money from Kentuckians and take back some of the money that is leaking across the border into Indiana.

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^now that you mention it I guess what I considered "Cincinnati" casinos were actually casinos near Cicny in Indiana. After The Horseshoe in Cincy opens (which looks amazing by the way) and is successful I'd bet Kentucky follows suit shortly there after.

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State officials involved with the review of a proposal to reopen Kentucky Kingdom are "doubtful" it can be accepted in its present form, sources tell WHAS11 News.


An investment group led by developer Ed Hart released its official proposal on Monday. It calls for a $120 million investment over a 50 year lease. The investors propose a $120 million investment in Kentucky Kingdom, $50 million in the first two years to double the size of the water park and to restore the park's 100 buildings (all but one ride). The Greezed Lightning roller coaster would be removed but a new $15 million roller coaster would be built.


"It's about time that the state stop looking at Kentucky Kingdom as a problem and started looking at it as an opportunity," Hart said at a news conference, flanked by fellow investors Ed Glasscock and Mary Moseley.


Sources familiar with the review of the Kentucky Kingdom Redevelopment Company proposal describe three main concerns:

  • 1. By using Kentucky Kingdom rides as collateral for a private loan, the state would still be creating a debt.
    2. Concerns about the timing of the park reopening
    3. Concerns that the proposal would jeopardize possible future uses of the Kentucky Kingdom property.

Hart did not comment when apprised of the concerns.


The governor's office had no comment on Hart's new proposal -- but Governor Steve Beshear has indicated he is not willing to risk putting the state on the hook for the financing of Kentucky Kingdom.


Hart's proposal, however, cites a Kentucky law (KRS 56.515 Leaseback agreement for fairgrounds improvements) that specifically allows private investors to use State Fair Board property to secure private financing.


Sources tell WHAS11 that the state wants to reopen Kentucky Kingdom if it can, but the main concerns would have to be addressed.


"This is exactly what they wanted and we're prepared to deliver," Hart said at the news conference.


Hart believes his group may have submitted the only proposal.


"The Commonwealth is evaluating the documents received and will be taking the appropriate subsequent steps very soon," said Pamela Trautner, a spokeswoman for the Finance & Administration Cabinet.


"If there aren't any other proposals, I would hope we would get a phone call from the state to say let's sit down and discuss this," Hart said.


Hart's proposal encourages a response by November 1 to facilitate the investment plan and an opening date of May, 2014.


The state has not been enthusiastic about Ed Hart's proposals in the past.


He has a pending lawsuit against the state. Kentucky dropped Hart for a Holiday World proposal that ultimately collapsed and refused to consider his new proposal this year. Hart's business partner, Bruce Lunsford, is a political rival of Governor Steve Beshear. The governor has suggested that it may be time to find a better purpose for the property.


"I can't read minds," Hart said. "and I'm not going to speculate what the state officials are thinking. I can say it's been very frustrating that three years has gone by and here we are."


Yet investor and civic leader Ed Glasscock is still optimistic.


"I think that the governor and the state officials have decided to do it the right way, send out an RFP, be very thoughtful about it in protecting the interests of taxpayers and we're trying to be responsive," Glasscock said. "We're not trying to rush anybody."


"I think that the elected officials have been working on a number of different projects," Glasscock told WHAS11. "The governor has been working on gaming and a lot of economic development projects and this doesn't have as high a priority with him as it does with us. So we think now that the administration will be more focused on it on light of the proposal that we've made."

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In a park like this, a coaster with a free fall drop sounds odd... Then again, we did have a 164ft tall stand up coaster. And I'm not surprised in the least bit about Greezed Lightnin. I've had my fair share of runs on it, so may it rest in peace.

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