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Kentucky Kingdom (SFKK, KK) Discussion Thread

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

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I knew this was coming. Though, it is sad for those who live in Kentucky have to drive to Holiday World & Kings Island for another year.

I lived in Kentucky for 24 years and still drove to Holiday World and Kings Island every year, which is part of the reason I was never very optimistic for Kentucky Kingdom reopening. It's a decent park but no where near the level of quality of Holiday World (+/-1 hour away) or the ride selection of Kings Island (+/-1.5 hours away). If that place is going to succeed if they ever do reopen it they are going to have to put in some unique new attractions (dry and wet) and improve the overall level of quality customer service/operations, just my opinion.

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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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This was just posted to WFPL's website:

 

The plan to expand, refurbish and re-open Kentucky Kingdom has hit another snag.

 

Talks have broken down between the state Fair Board and businessman Ed Hart’s Kentucky Kingdom Redevelopment Company.

 

Fair Board president Harold Workman says the two sides couldn’t agree on where certain revenue streams should be steered, but declined to elaborate. The board will now look for other operators.

 

“Obviously the news is out about the plight of the kingdom and I’m sure companies will know that we are getting ready to seek operators,” says Workman, who doesn’t believe it will be difficult to find another partner.

 

“There are operators that are out there. We had inquiries before from five or six companies, so we would anticipate there might be some interest from those,” he says.

 

Hart previously owned the park and had hoped to use a combination of city, state and private dollars to double the park’s size and re-open it two phases beginning in 2013.

 

“We just received a copy of the statement provided to the media from Mr. Harold Workman of the Kentucky State Fair Board,” says the KKRC in a statement released this afternoon. “This is the first contact we have had with Mr. Workman since Ed Hart presented to a meeting of the Fair Board last week. Apparently, the Kentucky State Fair Board has decided not to pursue an agreement with Mr. Hart and his company.”

 

Hart and the Fair Board had been in talks since shortly after Six Flags gave up its lease on the park in February of last year. Workman says he believes 2013 is still a realistic goal for re-opening the park.

 

A spokesman for the mayor says it’s in the city’s best interest for the park to re-open, but Metro Government has not been at the table in recent talks.

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My hopes for this park is finally starting to fade. Where's Cedar Fair when you need em'.

 

I suggest they forget the expansion. The park just needs to be cleaned up and re-opened. Let things get normal and then see where it can head afterwards.

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The State may as well sell off what rides are worth saving and use the land for parking. There is a height restriction and not much room for expansion, for the park to be a regional destination. I loved Ky Kingdom and worked there for 5 seasons but it wasn't the right location for a growing Theme Park to thrive.

 

Holiday World should buy The Giant Wheel, Bluebeards Bounty, Breakdance, Roller Skater, Himalaya, Enterprise and Deluge for 2013 for a major expansion. All the rest of the rides could go to other buyers or the scrap heap.

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Some more info...

 

http://www.courier-journal.com/article/20110930/NEWS01/309300079/Fair-board-ends-Kentucky-Kingdom-talks-Hart

 

Fair board ends Kentucky Kingdom talks with Hart

 

The Kentucky State Fair Board announced Friday that it has ended all talks with Ed Hart about the businessman’s effort to reopen the Kentucky Kingdom amusement park.

 

Harold Workman, fair board president, said in an interview that Hart is out of the picture as a potential Kentucky Kingdom operator.

 

But he said reopening the park remains the fair board’s top priority and that the board may ask the 2012 state legislature to appropriate money to help reopen the park.

 

Workman expressed confidence that other groups are interested in operating the park and one or more of them will soon be sought out to discuss the prospects of their running the park that was abandoned by Six Flags amid a bankruptcy filing after the 2009 season.

 

“We absolutely will get the park open,” Workman pledged, declining to guess when. Friday was the deadline for extending a tentative agreement that Hart had with the fair board granting him rights to sign a lease to operate the park. The fair board granted Hart the rights initially in mid-2010.“

 

We could not settle on lease terms that would be fiscally responsible for the fair board and financially viable for (Hart’s Kentucky Kingdom Redevelopment Co.) . The fair board remains fully committed to opening the park, and will continue to pursue options to make it a reality,” Workman said in a statement.

 

Hart’s spokeswoman, Susan McNeese Lynch, said Friday that there hadn’t been any contact with Workman since last week.

 

“Apparently, the Kentucky State Fair Board has decided not to pursue an agreement with Mr. Hart and his company."

 

Lynch said she could not confirm that there might not be any further discussions between Hart and the fair board. She declined further comment. Hart’s receptionist said Friday that Hart was not in the office and was not available for comment.

 

The Al J. Schneider Cos., which owns the Crowne Plaza hotel near the fairgrounds and also the Galt House and extensive other property, had said it would guarantee up to $20 million of any debt Hart might incur. Mary Moseley, head of the Schneider organization, declined comment Friday on the fair board negotations.

 

The city at one point last spring asked substantial concessions in offering to issue up to $17.5 million to aid Kentucky Kingdom’s reopening. But more recently the Fischer administration had indicated it had not agreed to Hart’s request for the city to cover $300,000 a year of his debt.

 

Fischer spokesman Chris Poynter termed the breaking off of the talks with Hart unfortunate. “We all wanted to get a deal done,” he said.

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The city at one point last spring asked substantial concessions in offering to issue up to $17.5 million to aid Kentucky Kingdom’s reopening. But more recently the Fischer administration had indicated it had not agreed to Hart’s request for the city to cover $300,000 a year of his debt.

 

This is all you need to know about why Ed Hart was never serious about reopening the park.

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Theme Parks and Water Parks just don't mix well with Fairboards. Just ask Tulsa. No one is every happy, the park owner NEVER owns the land and dependant on what the lease agreement is, the park could be kicked at any moment, operator booted, or rent raised to levels that leaves no room for profit. KK is on a screwed up foot print which really doesn't help any. Now that the rides have sat, and three of them for a lot longer than the park has been closed, some rides removed, and the ones left really not all that good, the question of why comes to mind. Why bother. The local economy is probably the best reason to bother, but seriously, things need to be rock solid with the fairboard for anyone else to even think about attempting a raising of the dead. And from everything I've read/scene, it seems the fairboard while they say they want it to re-open, seem like they want to micro manage the deal.

 

I see one of two situations being beneficial. The first, the fairboard hires a management company and provides the backing for new rides\attractions with the management company getting a % of the gate revenue with a bonus for profitability. The second would be to sell outright the land, rides, buildings, and IP with the understanding that the fairgrounds would retain and control the parking and parking fees.

 

This public/private partnership just isn't working. Until then, it will sit.

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  • 4 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...

I don't know if anyone caught this, but:

 

Copied from Business First Magazine about Ed Hart and KKRC LLC. Suing Kentucky:

Louisville businessman Ed Hart’s Kentucky Kingdom Redevelopment Co. LLC is suing the state of Kentucky in an attempt to recoup $1.4 million that it said it spent as part of a failed effort to reopen the amusement park at the Kentucky Exposition Center.

The suit was filed Oct. 20 in Franklin Circuit Court in Frankfort. The defendants are the Kentucky Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet and the Kentucky State Fair Board.

 

The fair board, which is part of the cabinet, manages the state-owned Kentucky Exposition Center.

The state had not responded to Kentucky Kingdom Redevelopment’s filing before Business First’s press ...

http://www.bizjournals.com/louisville/print-edition/2011/11/04/company-sues-state-to-recoup-kentucky.html

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I'm not exactly sure where Dominator would have went at KK, I've actually heard a number of things like the parking lot that was out in front of Chang's first turn would be given over to the park from the Fair Board for use. I'm not sure it was going to be Dominator's exact layout, but it was going to be a floorless.

 

Well, from what I've just heard Dominator was indeed made for Kentucky Kingdom. Dominator was supposed to be built in the vampire old spot as well as the squids dry slides spot. Steel Venom could as well been originally planed for the park as well. Looking at Dominator Design/map below, their is space for a impulse coaster right behind Dominator. Steel Venom would occupy the spot Greezed Lighting occupy today. It seems things changed as soon as Six Flags purchased Geauga Lake. So as soon as that happen, Six Flags quickly purchased Road Runner Express, and In 2001, Six Flags added Sky Coaster to fill the blank space in the park.

 

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Fits pretty snug in there, doesn't it?!

Not saying that I agree that the coaster was built for KK (Since I know nothing about this rumor), but something like it probably could fit in that space. I don't exactly know about the sizing of your copy/pasting there, but it looks like it could somehow fit.

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The Kentucky General Assembly will start meeting tomorrow. Last summer the Fairbord and Louisville Politics said Kentucky Kingdom will be one of their top priority for the General Assembly in January 2012. IMO if everything goes well with the assembly, The Fairboard will chase Ed Hart. Realistically we all know no one is interested in the park but him. With Ed Hart, The state just needs to put up 20 million or, Louisville will put up 10, and the state would put up 10 million for a combine total of 20 million. Without him, the state will need to contribute 30 million I believe. That's only if the Al J. Schneider Cos didn't back out since Ed Harts departure. If the Al J. Schneider Cos backed out, the state will have to put up 50 million.

 

BTW, It will cost 50 million to demolish the park.

 

All in all, we will all here some big news about the park in a couple of days or weeks.

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Holiday World operating Kentucky Kingdom? Possible

 

http://www.courier-journal.com/article/20120116/NEWS01/301160090/Holiday-World-owners-may-seek-rights-to-operate-Kentucky-Kingdom?odyssey=tab%7Cmostpopular%7Ctext%7CFRONTPAGE

 

The owners of Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari in Southern Indiana said Monday they may seek rights to operate Kentucky Kingdom, the Kentucky Exposition Center amusement park that has been idle for more than two years.

 

Holiday World in Santa Claus, Ind., is owned by the Koch family, which issued a statement Monday in response to an inquiry by the website InsiderLouisville.com about their interest in operating Kentucky Kingdom. “Over the years, the Kochs have explored numerous opportunities for growing their business,” the statement said. “When Kentucky Kingdom’s lease was not renewed, the Kochs expressed interest in learning more about options for the park’s future. “The process is still in the fact-finding stage; no decisions have been made by the Kochs whether to further pursue this opportunity.”

 

In an interview Monday afternoon, Paula Werne, a spokeswoman for Holiday World and the Koch family, said she was not aware that the Kochs had made any offer to take over Kentucky Kingdom, a move that would require the Kentucky State Fair Board to approve a lease. “We are working through the process, getting answers to all the questions we have,” she said. She was reluctant to elaborate beyond the prepared statement, but said negotiations with Kentucky officials would not have any impact on Holiday World.

 

Harold Workman, Kentucky State Fair Board president, was not available for comment Monday, a state government holiday. But he said in an interview Friday that he could not comment on any negotiations involving Kentucky Kingdom. Workman, however, did say that reopening the amusement park is the fair board’s top priority. And even though state budget constraints currently appear extreme, getting the 2012 General Assembly to approve $20 million to upgrade Kentucky Kingdom remains the fair board’s No. 1 legislative priority, Workman said.

 

Kentucky Kingdom has remained closed since the former operator, Six Flags, announced two years ago that it was abandoning the park amid a bankruptcy filing. It hasn’t operated since it closed in October 2009.

 

The fair board then granted businessman Ed Hart the rights to try to work out a deal to reopen Kentucky Kingdom. Hart owned Kentucky Kingdom for about a decade prior to 2000.

 

After more than a year of talks with the fair board, Hart said last fall he was on the verge of arranging $23 million in bank loans to cover the lion’s share of the cost to reopen the park, and the Al J. Schneider Cos. had agreed to guarantee up to $20 million of Hart’s debt.

 

Workman, however, said abruptly in late September that the fair board was ending talks with Hart. He maintained that Hart wanted revenue guarantees from the state that it was unable to meet.

 

Getting Kentucky Kingdom reopened has also been a top goal of city officials, including Metro Council members, mainly because the park provided about 1,000 summer jobs, chiefly for young people. The park also served as a major tax generator for state and local governments.

 

The Kochs have invested heavily in Holiday World in recent years. In May it is scheduled to open the Mammoth, promoted as the world’s longest water coaster.

Edited by jedimaster1227
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I'm not exactly sure where Dominator would have went at KK, I've actually heard a number of things like the parking lot that was out in front of Chang's first turn would be given over to the park from the Fair Board for use. I'm not sure it was going to be Dominator's exact layout, but it was going to be a floorless.

 

Well, from what I've just heard Dominator was indeed made for Kentucky Kingdom. Dominator was supposed to be built in the vampire old spot as well as the squids dry slides spot. Steel Venom could as well been originally planed for the park as well. Looking at Dominator Design/map below, their is space for a impulse coaster right behind Dominator. Steel Venom would occupy the spot Greezed Lighting occupy today. It seems things changed as soon as Six Flags purchased Geauga Lake. So as soon as that happen, Six Flags quickly purchased Road Runner Express, and In 2001, Six Flags added Sky Coaster to fill the blank space in the park.

 

 

 

I think that's the reason why they cancelled the T2/Chang retheme. Cause they were gonna add a new Batman coaster rather than retheme.

I don't think Steel Venom could've gone there. The park has major height limits.

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Not sure how i feel about this one honestly. On one hand id love to see this park up and running again just because of the fact that its within driving distance of where I live and the fact that the Koch family has done wonders with Holiday World. On the other, I can see the KYSFB being a massive hindrance to them. Im sure if it does get settled then the result will be positive due to the amount of care that goes into HW.

 

-Kafka-

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What?

 

I would love to see KK Holiday World-ified. Then again, I would like to see it reopen in any form that includes coasters.

 

I wonder what the chances of this really are. I suppose it would be best not to get one's hopes up for now...

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The Koch's obviously know what their doing when it comes to running a park. That said, Ed Hart would tell you that the fair board hasn't exactly been easy to work with. I hope we will hear some good news about this soon, but I'm not holding my breath.

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I don't like this idea at all. The Koch Family and Holiday World have a great business and should continue to expand and improve locally. This is a VERY different beast.

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