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Kentucky Kingdom (SFKK, KK) Discussion Thread

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

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In 1998, Kentucky Kingdom's attendance was 1.3 million. If Ed had never given the place to Priemer Park, I believe that Kentucky Kingdom would possibly be making 2 to 2.5 million guest annually. Kings Island makes 3 million a year.

 

Based on the constraints of the location (which includes population of the market, inability to expand borders and height restrictions) the growth that you believe would have occured was not going to happen.

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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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The park has alot of land to expand, and a pretty decent amount of land the Six Flags didn't use. The parks height limit vary. At the front of the park theres a limit of what everyone believes it 200ft. Go towards Thunder Run and Twisted twins it vary from 100-70 feet.

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The park has alot of land to expand, and a pretty decent amount of land the Six Flags didn't use. The parks height limit vary. At the front of the park theres a limit of what everyone believes it 200ft. Go towards Thunder Run and Twisted twins it vary from 100-70 feet.

 

I knew the open land was there but I did not realize the park could expand onto that land. Where did you obtain that info or is it just speculaton that the land could be used? Is that land owned by the Fair Board, also?

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The park has alot of land to expand, and a pretty decent amount of land the Six Flags didn't use. The parks height limit vary. At the front of the park theres a limit of what everyone believes it 200ft. Go towards Thunder Run and Twisted twins it vary from 100-70 feet.

 

I knew the open land was there but I did not realize the park could expand onto that land. Where did you obtain that info or is it just speculaton that the land could be used? Is that land owned by the Fair Board, also?

 

Scroll down to the date 1/31/11

http://screamscape.com/html/kentucky_kingdom.htm

 

^ I believe the limit is 180ft. Which includes a parallel area where Hellevator, Greezed Lightnin', Giant wheel and Chang sits/sat. Also there was a LOT of unused land behind Chang/T2!

The limit doesn't stop there. That was just speculated because that was the height of the Sky Coaster model that was at the park.

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^^ My source is a former supervisor (six flags era) has told me something similar to this... However he did tell me the limit was 180, not 200. He also told me the limit went down towards thunder run/ twisted twins area. And he did tell me that the land behind Chang/T2 was Kentucky Kingdoms to expand upon. I think there's a map of who owns what land somewhere is this forum. However I think the fair board now owns the land that was previously owned by Kentucky Kingdom/Six Flags as part of the deal for Six Flags getting out of the lease.

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Lets not forget that you can grow the park not just by making it bigger, but by removing older attractions or building rides on top of each other. Do I think that KK would have gotten 2.5 million by now? No, but I think they would have been able to sustain the 1.8 Million figure and hold it.... and that's the goal, to sustain the attendance. KI and CP have been doing it for years with the exception of 2009 when the market was trying to survive.

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^^I forgot that Six Flags actually owned some of the land, but I did not know who that land was sold to or if it was available for expansion. I thought the land they owned had already been incorporated in the park boundaries.

 

And thanks for confirmation on the height limit, I knew it wasn't too high.

 

I still don't see how this park would have achieved 1.5 million annual guests if it was never sold by Ed Hart.

Edited by larrygator
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The height limit for the park was 200ft. That is why the slingshot was were it was. The skycoaster was 182ft tall. There are several acres that will be available for the park to expand into. I was a supervisor at the park, there is alot of places that can have things added. You have to be creative when it comes to ride placement. The area where Twisted Twins is the height limit was 80ft. That is when the twins were 75ft tall. The height limits were set by the FAA. I do not post most of the time because of working at the park, we were under strict rules. I felt that I needed to give out the correct information when it comes to the kingdom.

 

Mark

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^^I forgot that Six Flags actually owned some of the land, but I did not know who that land was sold to or if it was available for expansion. I thought the land they owned had already been incorporated in the park boundaries.

 

And thanks for confirmation on the height limit, I knew it wasn't too high.

 

I still don't see how this park would have achieved 1.5 million annual guests if it was never sold by Ed Hart.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_MEpeyqjV1Y&list=UUk1taap69mTKEt_vVliwkCA&index=5

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^Those heights he mentioned are the same as the ones Ed Hart mentioned in one of the videos he made the last go around to obtain the park.

 

^^Well bite my ass and call me Sally, I didn't know their attendance was ever over 1.1MM, so 1.5M was certainly achievable.

 

But that video is still quite biased. I'm not buying the claim that attendance was substantially increasing from outside the state late in Hart's reign when the only signature ride at the park was Chang. The propaganda through out the video is quite amusing "the addition of Greezed Lightning was not in the grand tradition of Kentucky Kingdom's other world class coasters such as T2" People stopped coming to the park in droves because of the loss of a Boomerang and Quake.

Edited by larrygator
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As I am very happy that this park plans to be reopened next season, I'm also skeptical. You see, in the past, there were three parks I used to visit that was closed and had plans on reopening.

 

#1 -Six Flags New Orleans - closed since Hurricane Katrina, there was a company called Southern Star that wanted to reopen the park. RESULTS - The plans fell through and the park is still closed.

 

#2 - Hard Rock Park - I went there during it's first and only season. A new group came up, bought it, and turned it into a waterdown park they named Freestyle Music Park. RESULTS - The park is closed for the second time with no signs of it being reopened.

 

#3 - Ghost Town in the Sky - After the park was reopened in 2007, I went there and felt I got ripped off, so I didn't shed any tears when it closed down again. RESULTS - Now the park is being reopened into an attraction I have no desire in revisiting.

 

Could Kentuck Kingdom be #4 in my list, or can Ed Hart really turn this place around and make it much better than before. I like to say "yes", but I've been burnt three times before.

 

"You can always depend on me to help you get through the night."

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Found out about this on Screamscape, but here's the original article:

 

http://www.courier-journal.com/article/20130128/NEWS01/301280087/Ed-Hart-check-out-Kentucky-Kingdom?nclick_check=1

 

The Ed Hart group has a top management staff in place that next week will begin to assess the condition of the long-abandoned Kentucky Kingdom amusement park at the Kentucky Exposition Center.

 

Hart said Monday that he has hired eight senior managers who will begin examining the rides, buildings and equipment next Monday. The park last operated in fall 2009 and some facilities have fallen into disrepair.

 

John Shanrock, who is relocating from South Carolina to be the park’s general manager, has 30 years of experience in the theme park industry, all within the Cedar Fair organization. William R. Hargrave, who will be director of technical services and capital improvements, has spent the past 20 years in management positions for Sam Swope’s auto business and previously worked at Kentucky Kingdom when Hart owned it. And Lesly Birkner — who has a background in the amusement industry as a professional specializing in human resource enrichment, training, operational analysis and policy development — will be director of operations.

 

Hart’s group has 90 days to evaluate the conditions and complete financing before the lease the Kentucky State Fair Board approved last Thursday is activated.

 

Hart said that until the lease kicks in, the board will continue to pay for security, utilities and other costs.

 

Hart applied last week for up to $10 million over 10 years in state tourism tax credits. Under the state program, developers of projects that promote tourism can recover part of their investment through a rebate on sales tax revenue generated by the project.

 

Hart’s partners are businessman Bruce Lunsford, lawyer Ed Glasscock and the Al J. Schneider Co. led by Mary Moseley — a company that owns the Galt House and Crowne Plaza hotels and extensive commercial property. Hart intends to have the park open in spring 2014.

 

Under the lease, the Hart group is to invest an initial $20 million in partner equity and $25 million that Hart said his group intends to borrow from an unnamed Kentucky bank. Those funds are to be used for park improvements by 2017.

 

Hart said that he expects to have to put up about $2.2 million a year for a decade to pay off the anticipated $25 million, 10-year bank loan. The investors plan to pay off that annual debt this way:

 

• Up to $200,000 a year from the city in rebated job tax revenue generated by the park employment and from the city’s general fund. Metro Council approval of the deal is pending.

 

• $100,000 a year pledged by the Louisville Convention Bureau from its hotel bed-tax income.

 

• $1 million from the pending state tourism tax credits.

 

• $900,000 a year from a parking arrangement with the fair board.

 

Hart said that plan will negate the need to pour partner equity into debt payments and that their equity can be plowed into park improvements.

 

Hart said the lease gives his group the power to decide whether the park will be open during the Kentucky State Fair and, if so, whether it will be open as an extension of the fair or will charge a fee for each ride.

 

“We very likely will be open for the state fair,” he said.

 

The lease requires the Hart group to pay $475,000 in rent in 2014, increasing by $50,000 a year until it caps at $1.2 million for the remainder of the 50-year period. All the park property and assets, including future improvements, will remain under state ownership.

 

Nice to see Cedar Fair veteran John Shanrock join the Kentucky Kingdom group as the GM. Very excited that this park is getting very close to opening back up!

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As Lance was saying in today screamscape post, Kentucky Kingdom skyline IS damage. The only ride that is visible in the remaining skyline from several miles away is the Giant Wheel. Ed said he plans on adding in two thrill rides with the price tag of 1.5 million. And I'm sure he will ad in new rides that will dramatically change Kentucky Kingdom's skyline in several years. Do any of you believe the park could possibly add in a S&S drop tower? Or maybe even a Zamperla air race? Just speculating here just for fun. These are two rides Kentucky Kingdom would benefit from next year.

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The two thrill rides he mentioned before were a 135' Star Flyer and a Flying Scooter.

 

Those are not thrill rides. Those are family rides. The local news reported that Hart was going to add in two MAJOR thrill rides. Back in the 1990s, Ed Hart always went BIG, Adding attractions you couldn't find anywhere else in our area. He's also always talking about competition as we all know. Do you think he's really going to put into a public RFP everything that's going to be done when it comes to new attractions? BTW, the old RFP has been taking off the kentucky kingdom website.

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The two thrill rides he mentioned before were a 135' Star Flyer and a Flying Scooter.

 

Those are not thrill rides. Those are family rides. The local news reported that Hart was going to add in two MAJOR thrill rides. Back in the 1990s, Ed Hart always went BIG, Adding attractions you couldn't find anywhere else in our area. He's also always talking about competition as we all know. Do you think he's really going to put into a public RFP everything that's going to be done when it comes to new attractions? BTW, the old RFP has been taking off the kentucky kingdom website.

 

 

2 Rides that aren't found within 300 miles?

- Huss Giant Jump 2 / Mondial Top Scan

- B&M Floorless Coaster/ Intamin Accelerator Coaster

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  • 2 weeks later...
News tommorow on the current condition of the park.

 

If Kentucky Kingdom was to reopen tomorrow for a grand reopening, how many people do you think would visit the park from then until the end of the season?

There's a lot of factors that go into a guess like that.

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http://www.courier-journal.com/article/20130212/NEWS01/302120046/Hart-says-he-fully-expects-reopen-Kentucky-Kingdom-schedule

A week into assessing conditions at the long-abandoned Kentucky Kingdom amusement park, investor Ed Hart says he “fully expects” to reopen the park on May 24, 2014.

 

“We are very encouraged by what we’ve seen, but obviously, there is a great deal of work to do” to get the park ready for business, said Hart, president of Kentucky Kingdom LLLP. He heads the investment group that was recently granted a lease by the Kentucky State Fair Board to reopen the park that last operated in the fall of 2009.

 

Hart held a news conference Tuesday morning at the Kentucky Exposition Center in front of the closed main gate to the park. He introduced the top management staff he has hired and gave a report on his preliminary assessment of the park’s condition.

 

Hart, who had previously operated the park, noted that the review includes looking at about 100 buildings, 40 rides and 60 acres of property. The preliminary review, he said, has included some “surprises and setbacks,” but he added that they have been mostly “small things” that are not expected to deter him from reopening the park on schedule.

 

The lease gives him 90 days to arrange financing -- approval of incentives are pending with state and metro officials -- and make a final decision to proceed. In the interim, the fair board continues to pay for park security and upkeep.

 

Under the lease, Hart and his investment partners -- businessman Bruce Lunsford, lawyer Ed Glasscock and the Al J. Schneider Co. -- have agreed to invest $45 million in park improvements by 2017. That includes $20 million in partner equity and $25 million in loans. The group is to spend at least $1 million a year on park upgrades.

 

He acknowledged that readying the rides may not be cheap. He said that one coaster alone, a wooden ride called Thunder Run, may need up to $1 million of repairs to make sure it is both safe and a smooth ride.

 

“We intend to have a complete makeover of Kentucky Kingdom,” Hart said. He affirmed that he plans to add two major rides and double the size of the water park for the opening. Hart said he will soon begin to line up contractors and suppliers, intending to use as many local providers as possible.

 

Hart said he plans to hire about 50 full-time park staff in the near future, with up to 1,000 seasonal employees when the park begins operating.

 

Hart introduced his top management staff that will feature people with long experience in the amusement-park industry. Several who have worked with Hart previously at the old Kentucky Kingdom or other parks he has operated. The group includes:

 

• John Shanrock, who will be the Kentucky Kingdom general manager and had worked for 30 years with the Cedar Fair organization.

 

• William Hargrave, director of technical services and capital improvements. He has been in management positions with the local Sam Swope automotive organization.

 

• Dave Scharfenberg, manager of technical services, who worked for Hart at the old Kentucky Kingdom and has expertise in ride maintenance.

 

• Lesly Birkner, director of operations, whose background in the amusement industry includes human resources, training, operations analysis and policy development.

 

Other hires include Marty Cogan as director of community relations, Cathy Sullivan as chief financial officer and Gaylee Gillim, Hart’s spouse, as general counsel and head of the safety committee. In addition, Carol Monheimer will be the park’s chief of staff, and Victoria Strange will be executive assistant.

 

Hart operated Kentucky Kingdom for nearly a decade before selling it to Six Flags for around $80 million in the late 1990s. Six Flags abandoned its lease on the park in early 2010 and filed for bankruptcy.

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“We intend to have a complete makeover of Kentucky Kingdom,” Hart said. He affirmed that he plans to add two major rides and double the size of the water park for the opening. Hart said he will soon begin to line up contractors and suppliers, intending to use as many local providers as possible.

 

And so the conversion to water park only begins!

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