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Kentucky Kingdom (SFKK, KK) Discussion Thread

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

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http://www.wfpl.org/2011/06/21/workman-says-deal-close-to-reopen-kentucky-kingdom/

 

Kentucky State Fair Board President Harold Workman says he’s still hopeful that Kentucky Kingdom amusement park can be reopened in 2012. Workman told a panel of state lawmakers recently that the board and Louisville Metro Government are close to finalizing an agreement to re-open Kentucky Kingdom next year. He says it will take a total investment of about $50 to bring the park back to life. “We’re working on $23 million of local funds now that would be through bank loans and assistance from metro government to get the park open to about 80-85 percent for ’12,” he said.

 

Workman says he’ll ask the legislature for approximately $20 million in January. He thinks Kentucky Kingdom could draw as many as 750,000 visitors next year and provide employment for many people. The amusement park was closed in early 2010 after its previous owner, Six Flags, filed for bankruptcy.

 

Businessman Ed Hart has an agreement with the fair board to operate the park if funding is secured.

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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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A 20 million dollar investor wants the park reopen!

 

http://www.courier-journal.com/article/20110823/NEWS01/308230077/Schneider-Cos-willing-guarantee-up-20-million-Kentucky-Kingdom-investment?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|Home

 

The family that owns the Galt House and other Louisville hotel properties has agreed to guarantee as much as $20 million of any investment by Ed Hart in his effort to reopen the Kentucky Kingdom amusement park. The guarantee may help jump start stalled efforts to reopen the park, which shut down in fall 2009.

 

Hart has estimated it would take $20 million to get Kentucky Kingdom reopened on a limited scale, with a couple of new rides.

 

“If he (Hart) can get his financing together, yes, we think we can get Kentucky Kingdom open next summer, but time is of the essence,” Mary Moseley, head of the Al J. Schneider Cos. said Tuesday. Among the company’s holdings is the Galt House, as well as the Crowne Plaza Hotel, adjacent to the fairgrounds.

 

Hart has been granted rights by the Kentucky State Fair Board to try to reopen the fairgrounds park that Six Flags abandoned in early 2010 amid a bankruptcy filing.

 

Moseley, daughter of the late developer Al Schneider, was reluctant to discuss specifics about a potential arrangement with Hart. “We have to be careful. We are still in negotiations,” she said.

 

Hart didn’t return phone calls Tuesday but issued a statement through his spokeswoman, Susan McNeese Lynch, that said the Schneider organization “will be a terrific strategic partner in helping us to forge a mutually beneficial, public-private partnership which we have been working toward all along.”

 

Harold Workman, president of the Kentucky State Fair Board, which runs the state-owned expo center, has been at the center of the financial negotiations on the park. He didn’t return phone calls Tuesday .

 

Hart earlier this year approached the city about financial assistance, and Mayor Greg Fischer proposed in May that the city issue up to $17.5 million in general-obligation bonds for the theme park’s makeover. Fischer proposed that the bonds be backed primarily by occupational taxes and parking fees generated by the amusement park.

 

But Fischer also wanted the city to get a 30 percent share of the park’s net profits and other financial concessions.

 

Last month, city officials said the city probably would not sell the bonds because Hart had decided instead to try to pursue tourism tax credits from the state.

 

Gil Lawson, spokesman for the state Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet, said Tuesday that he can’t comment on discussions about tourism tax credits until a formal application is filed with the state. He said no such application has been filed.

 

Chris Poynter, Fischer’s spokesman, said Tuesday that the city remains “willing to be a partner. But it is out of our hands right now. We are continuing to work with the Fair Board, and our goal is to get the park open next summer.”

 

Moseley said an unidentified third party — not the mayor — brought together the Schneider organization, the fair board and Hart.

 

“We extended a hand,” she said. “We would guarantee $20 million — that those payments (the debt on any loans) will be paid. If he (Hart) can’t make them, we would. We would guarantee that Ed Hart will pay the loan off. We are there, if he wants us.”

 

Moseley said she wants Kentucky Kingdom to reopen because “it would be a good thing for the city and the state. It would provide a lot of jobs and work for a lot of vendors. It affects tourism and a lot of conventions that we have in.”

 

Moseley said many convention planners want the amusement park as an activity for their delegates. And Moseley acknowledged that the park would be a boon for Crowne Plaza, where many people stay while attending conventions at he fairgrounds.

 

Hart or the Fair Board is expected to seek funding, or some form of financial aid, from the 2012 General Assembly to make some major improvements to the amusement park, especially enlarging the water park. The longer range goal is to have an expanded park operating in 2013.

 

Hart has already spent more than $3 million on the park venture, some of which went to acquire land owned by Six Flags. Hart has said he is spending more than $100,000 a month in maintaining and securing the park’s facilities.

 

During the summer the park usually employed about 1,000 people, many of them teenagers.

Edited by jedimaster1227
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Based on this article in Loiusville Courier-Journal, it sounds like Ed Hart is actually close to finally getting the financing to open Kentucky Kingdom!

 

Businessman Ed Hart said he is “close to an agreement” on securing a $23 million bank loan toward his effort to reopen the Kentucky Kingdom amusement park at the Kentucky Exposition Center.

 

Hart has been given rights — until Sept. 30 — by the Kentucky State Fair Board to negotiate a lease to operate the park.

 

With the abandoned park across Phillips Lane as a backdrop, Hart said at a news conference Tuesday at the Crowne Plaza hotel that he is waiting for the Fair Board to offer him lease terms that he can accept.

 

He said he would be receptive to an extension of the lease commitment but emphasized that time is growing short to meet his and the board’s goal to reopen the park next spring. Hart said he would consider waiting to open the park until 2013, if the lease conditions are right.

 

Hart said the $23 million loan would be provided by two local banks. He declined to disclose the terms, but said it would be a 15-year deal. He said the banks have asked not to be named until the deal on the park’s reopening is final.

 

The loan would be guaranteed by his new partner, the Al J. Schneider Cos., which owns the Crowne Plaza, the Galt House and other area commercial property.

 

Hart previously put $3 million into the park project, some of which went to acquire land owned by Six Flags, the amusement park operator that abandoned Kentucky Kingdom in early 2010 amid a bankruptcy filing. Hart said at the news conference Tuesday that he has now increased his equity investment to $5.6 million.

 

In addition, Hart has spent more than $1 million to date to pay for the ongoing costs of security, repair, maintenance and other expenses related to the park.

 

Hart said the Fair Board has been cooperative in its talks but that a final lease agreement remains elusive. He acknowledged that now that he has put additional equity into the venture, he expects additional lease concessions beyond what he originally sought.

 

Fair board president Harold Workman didn’t immediately return a phone call Tuesday. But he told state legislators in late August that he expected the Kentucky Kingdom to be open next spring, barring some unforeseen occurrence.

 

Hart said, “Assuming a lease agreement is reached, (our) goal has always been to reopen Kentucky Kingdom in 2012. However, we are subject to the production schedules of the national and international suppliers who will provide new rides for the park, as well as the parts to refurbish existing rides. Time is running out.”

 

Hart said the only participation he is asking from Louisville Metro Government is a $300,000 a year payment toward the loan debt for 15 years.

 

Last spring Mayor Greg Fischer offered that the city might issue as much at $17.5 million in bonds to help finance Kentucky Kingdom’s reopening, but he set terms that Hart apparently found unacceptable.

 

On Tuesday Fischer spokesman Chris Poynter said Fischer has now agreed to provide toward the park’s loan debt 1 percent of all occupational-tax revenue that the city collects from park employees. That would likely generate less than the $300,000 per year sought by Hart, Poynter acknowledged.

 

The park would likely generate about 1,000 summer jobs per year in addition to several dozen permanent jobs.

 

Poynter said he didn’t think the commitment of the tax revenue would require Louisville Metro Council approval. Most council members have made the park’s reopening a priority.

 

Hart said his Kentucky Kingdom Redevelopment Co. is “close to an agreement on private sector funding” of nearly $29 million to reopen the park. However, it needs the Kentucky State Fair Board’s cooperation to seal the deal, he said.

 

A year and a half ago, the Fair Board selected Hart as its choice to reopen the theme park, a state-owned facility that last operated in the fall of 2009. The Fair Board’s next regularly scheduled meeting will be Sept. 22 — just over a week before the current interim agreement is to expire.

 

The initial $28.6 million investment would go to expand the Kentucky Kingdom water park and add several new family-style rides.

 

But Hart envisions what will eventually be a $50 million project for redeveloping the park. That level of investment would require the Fair Board’s asking the 2012 General Assembly to invest about $20 million more, probably via a bond issue, in the park venture. At that level, the park would get several new roller coasters and be marketed as a regional attraction.

 

Mary Moseley, president of the Schneider organization, said, “We have great confidence in Ed Hart and his team of professionals. They’ve turned failed theme parks around before, and we know they can do it again.”

Edited by larrygator
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^Well, T2, Greezed Lightnin', their roller skater, and Thunder Run are still there. I doubt they're in a good state after being left alone for two years, but with quite a bit of effort and a chunk of the capital I'd imagine they could be brought back to life. It makes sense, since they're all still decent rides. Same goes for the water park.

 

Before anyone mentions Twisted Twins though, I'm pretty sure that'll still rot in its field regardless of what happens to the park.

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^^If you mean "Running Order" as in "keep them in a condition where they could go out and start them up immediately," then no. Early August when I went with some friends to a hot rod convention, I took photos from outside the park. There are so many plants that have grown so far up on the park's pirate ship that the ride looks like it will never run again; I hope I'm wrong though.

 

I even made my way past a gas station to a little plot of land behind Kentucky Kingdom where I believe the new parking lot would be.

 

All photos were taken from public property outside of the park.

IMG_6206.JPG.c0407131e2cfd9d7f65eb3ee994a4b23.JPG

T2 with slight paint chipping.

IMG_6209.JPG.77c698f237441f78973c2cf19b59cd02.JPG

Both rides slightly faded.

1892161524_IMG_6213Stitch.jpg.f8bde75b2a5977c830eb99a29c8aa59b.jpg

Panorama of Twisted Twins.

IMG_6219.JPG.2dad5b25547028b39158765069c64386.JPG

Close-up

IMG_6227.JPG.98ab5bc1a575da350527f72cacfaf937.JPG

Hot Rod convention!

IMG_6238.JPG.d207c80315d75024f978e2cbb8999642.JPG

The Pirate ship with huge plants and grass all over it.

IMG_6240.JPG.67939f78a7ebd10ec73169271c174f92.JPG

Road-Runner building is still there.

IMG_6246.thumb.JPG.c684079a1d3cb2fa7b9b2d5820e1805f.JPG

There were people inside sweeping and leaf-blowing the ground.

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Back at TT

IMG_6282.JPG.6c87f6551b3bef10bd9aa21bf324127c.JPG

And the possible parking lot.

Edited by Midgetman82
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^Oh, it will certainly take some time before the rides will be ready to open to public, but at least there has been some maintenance performed on the rides. To what extent, I don't know. But it's better than the rides being completely ignored since the park closed.

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The "rust" on T2 is just the original red paint showing through the black. At one time Six Flags planned to re-theme T2 as Batman, even going as far as to paint it black. However due to reasons unknown they halted the re-theme.

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Kentucky Kingdom Won't Open In 2012

 

There are more problems with the planned reopening of Kentucky Kingdom.

 

Developers now say 2013 is their target date for reopening the amusement park. They have been unable to put together the public-private partnership needed to get the park open.

 

Developer Ed Hart has pledged $1 million toward the reopening, predicated on an interim agreement with the Fair Board. That agreement extends through the end of the next legislative session, at which time the state’s intention to complete the public/private partnership with $20 million should be known.

 

Hart said his contribution will go toward the ongoing upkeep costs of the park. Hart said he’s currently paying $120,000 a month to cover the costs.

 

"I have always believed this park has a wonderful future under a public/ private partnership and my contribution to that effort will give everyone time to work out the remaining terms," Hart said in a release. "Of course, it is up to the Fair Board and the state to ultimately decide what they want to do."

 

Hart also recently announced the availability of approximately $29 million in private funding for the project. The Al J. Schneider Company had previously agreed to serve as a guarantor of $23 million in bank loans. Hart was prepared to contribute the remaining $5.6 million in equity.

 

The earlier deadline was to reopen in 2012, but that deadline will not be reached.

 

Read more: http://www.wlky.com/entertainment/29266950/detail.html#ixzz1YjocE2wP

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Well one good thing about this news for me is that it is one less park I have to worry about going to next year. So it frees up my budget just a little bit. And mabey one more year will make them better prepared for whenever they do reopen, if ever.

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I once had a chance to go to Kentucky Kingdom back in 2002, I knew that the park was'nt too far south from Kings Island, and my dad asked me if I wanted to go as he was willing to make the trip for me, However in the end, I decided on spending 2 days at Kings Island instead of 1 day at each, I'm a bit gutted now I didnt take that chance.

Still hopefully the park will live on and reopen in 2013, but it still sounds a bit hit or miss, will be interesting to follow this story to see what happens, Its always horrible to hear of any park(good or bad) complety close down so lets hope this doesnt eventually lead to another Astroworld

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It ALL depends on state government at this point. We know Ed Hart has the chops to make the park successful. The company that owns a few area hotels has pledged to back him up on paying his bank loans. So the only thing in limbo right now is the $20 million investment Mr. Hart has asked the state to make. We are electing a governor this November, so I wouldn't expect anything to happen until the legislature meets next year.

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