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Kentucky Kingdom (SFKK, KK) Discussion Thread

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

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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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From what I hear, It's not HW exact but some of the family. It's like When 4 ex Cedar Point CEO's bought Geauga Lake in 1969. Different Companies running 2 different parks.

 

No, its the same family members running HW.

 

The members of the Koch family involved in discussions with the Kentucky State Fair Board as Bluegrass Boardwalk, Incorporated are Holiday World president Dan Koch, his sister Natalie Koch, their cousin Kathy Kamp, and her husband, Michael Kamp, who is a General Manager at Holiday World. Dan, Natalie and Kathy are grandchildren of Holiday World’s founder, Louis J. Koch, who opened the park (originally called Santa Claus Land) in 1946.
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Steve, do you honestly think this deal would go through if the Koch's didn't believe it was "logical?"

 

The family has been running one of the most successful parks in the world for over half a century. Surely they know what they're doing/getting themselves into.

 

This is no guarantee that they haven't made a mistake. That being said, I wish them well on their new endeavor, and have no desire to see them fail.

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So the people at HW operate what is easily the best park in the region (and arguably one of the best parks in the country), but they want to try to revive what was easily the worst park in the region (and arguably one of the worst parks in the country)? To me, this investment would be like buying a boat. It would be a colossal money pit with absolutely no return on their investment. I really, really hope they see the logical side of this and change their minds.

 

Kentucky Kingdom wasn't always a terrible park, it had it's years where it was a actually pretty decent. I'm fairly skeptical of this project but I do think that if the right plan is executed properly this place can succeed again. I don't know what that plan is exactly whether its a new water park, expanded amusement park, down sized amusement park I don't know but I think there is enough of a local market to support a park again.

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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.

 

 

Actually SFI/Premier parks owned GL as early as 94/95 so it had nothing to do with the park in Ohio.Kk was the first park in premier parks chain to be flagged in 98 when SFI was purchased by them with GL,AW,EG & DL all being flagged for the 99 season.

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I don't really get some of the negativity floating around here, Kentucky Kingdom wasn't that bad until Six Flags gave up on it. They actually have a really awesome water park! I know the whole "water park" aspect can be lost on a lot of coaster enthusiasts, but I guarantee that's a big draw for someone looking to create a sustainable business.

 

With that said, the amusement park definitely needs work, especially considering the loss of Chang. I definitely think the park would need to invest in a major new thrill ride and maybe some family rides in order to start bringing people back. Currently they're stuck with one of the worst SLC's ever, a couple of sub-par woodies, and a shuttle loop... so I understand why a lot of coaster enthusiasts aren't as excited about this as Ed Hart's "coaster, coaster, coaster" strategy. But from more of a family park standpoint, they have Deluge, a good waterpark, and a decent rapids ride. They have a good starting point, I think with smart investments over a long period of time we could see this become a really nice park.

 

It could be worse! I have way more optimism about the Koch's turning Kentucky Kingdom around than I ever had with Herschend turning Wild Adventures around!

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They are doing this right by starting a separate company. If this should get off the ground and there is no guarantee that it even will, then should the park go bust it will not drag down HW. A lot still has to happen, like a lease suitable to both sides and financing.

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I think they will make Kentucky Kingdom extreme/thrill oriented while Holiday World will stay Family thrills.

 

I don't see this happening since the HW folks would not own the land where the rides are placed. If something goes wrong and the Koch family leaves the project they would want to take their extreme rides with them, but would have no logical place to put them and reselling them would not bring anywhere near the original purchase price. That is making the assumption that anything the Kochs add, would be their property.

 

And the end it is difficult to know for sure as we are not privy to the contracts and business arrangements between the parties involved.

Edited by larrygator
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I'm sure the Kochs can make KK into a great park, but I get the feeling that this venture could be a bit canabalistic. I'd imagine that a decent amount of HW's market comes from the Louisville area.

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I don't see this happening since the HW folks would not own the land where the rides are placed. If something goes wrong and the Koch family leaves the project they would want to take their extreme rides with them, but would have no logical place to put them...

 

What makes you think Holiday World wouldn't move their extreme rides to Santa Claus?

 

I don't see how they could possibly concoct something more extreme than The Voyage, and according to a recent (Thrill Network) interview with Dan Koch, Holiday World will soon attempt to make a splash in the steel coaster polls.

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I really do like this idea. And I believe if there is anyone out their with industry experience that can make this happen...it's Holiday World. They have always (IMO) been very careful with big decisions involving HW, they don't just plop down a ride just to say they added another attraction. Best to them!

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I don't see this happening since the HW folks would not own the land where the rides are placed. If something goes wrong and the Koch family leaves the project they would want to take their extreme rides with them, but would have no logical place to put them...

 

What makes you think Holiday World wouldn't move their extreme rides to Santa Claus?

 

I don't see how they could possibly concoct something more extreme than The Voyage, and according to a recent (Thrill Network) interview with Dan Koch, Holiday World will soon attempt to make a splash in the steel coaster polls.

 

I was not aware that Dan Koch made such a statement. I will not retract my comment as I was equating extreme with steel coasters. Did he really use the word "splash"? If so I'll say AquaTrax first.

Edited by larrygator
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I added my own pun in there, Larry. Sorry to get your hopes up.

 

Here is the statement I was referring to:

 

6. What kind of coaster do you want to see next at Holiday World?

 

An award-winner! I think it’s pretty well known there’s a steel coaster in our future. Give us a little time. We are a Mom and Pop shop, but we love to buy big pieces to compete with mega parks. It has taken 66 years of hard work to even make this a possibility. All I can say is thank you to all those folks who have visited us to allow us the opportunity to build a signature piece. We are humbled that this will occur. It will occur- I guarantee it.

 

http://www.thrillnetwork.com/content/20-questions-holiday-world-s-president-dan-koch-2995/

 

Will you retract your statement now? lol

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Could it be that the Holiday World people actually were hinting at a steel coaster for this park and not for their home park?

 

Chris, I don't think so. After seeing the Q ans A it is clear Dan Koch is addressing Holiday World.

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http://www.wfpl.org/2012/02/15/workman-very-confident-of-2013-kentucky-kingdom-reopening/

 

The president of the Kentucky State Fair Board says negotiations with a prospective new operator of the Kentucky Kingdom amusement park are going well.

 

Harold Workman told a Kentucky Senate committee yesterday that he expects the talks with the owners of Indiana’s Holiday World to lead to an agreement.

 

“We’re in negotiations with a Kentucky corporation that was formed, called Bluegrass Boardwalk. If that is successful, which we’re very confident that it will be, then we anticipate the park will be open in May of 2013,” he said.

 

Bluegrass Boardwalk was formed by members of the Koch family, which owns Holiday World. The family has said it would not seek any public funding from the Kentucky legislature, but is applying for state economic development incentives.

 

Kentucky Kingdom has been shuttered since early 2010, when its previous operator, Six Flags, declared bankruptcy. Talks with Louisville developer Ed Hart to take over the park fell through last year.

 

The park has provided hundreds of seasonal jobs for young people. Workman told the panel the fair board has lost about $2 million annually in revenue since the closure.

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http://www.courier-journal.com/article/20120219/NEWS01/302190059/amusement-park-name-change-louisville

 

The Koch family, operators of Holiday World and Splashin’ Safari in Santa Claus, Ind., may change the name of Kentucky Kingdom if they secure the rights to take over the closed Louisville amusement park.

 

The family members earlier this month announced formation of a company called Bluegrass Boardwalk Inc. to negotiate a lease with the Kentucky State Fair Board to operate the theme park on the grounds of the Kentucky Exposition Center. But they didn’t indicate at the time that they were considering putting the new company’s name on the amusement park itself.

 

Kentucky Kingdom has been closed since it was in essence abandoned by Six Flags amid a bankruptcy filing two years ago. The park has been called Kentucky Kingdom since it first operated in the late 1980s.

 

Paula Werne, spokeswoman for Holiday World and the Koch family, said in a phone interview that the Kochs selected Bluegrass Boardwalk as a “working name” for the new company and that putting that name on Kentucky Kingdom “is certainly a possibility, absolutely.”

 

Werne declined to comment on why the Kochs are considering the name change.

 

Amanda Storment, spokeswoman for the fair board, said any name for the park would be part of the lease negotiations and noted that the lease — including the park’s name — would be subject to approval by the full fair board.

 

The fair board and board President Harold Workman issued a statement that said the board’s top priority remains “to open the amusement and water park by 2013. The Koch family is exploring the opportunity to serve as the park operator, and the fair board is working to provide information needed in that process.”

 

The Koch family members who formed Bluegrass Boardwalk are: Holiday World President Dan Koch; his sister, Natalie Koch; their cousin, Kathy Kamp; and her husband, Michael Kamp, who is a general manager of Holiday World.

 

Dan and Natalie Koch and Kathy Kamp are grandchildren of Holiday World’s founder, Louis J. Koch, who opened the park, originally called Santa Claus Land, in 1946.

 

The Kochs said no public money will be requested from the Kentucky General Assembly but that they would be eligible for state tourism tax credits for money spent to improve the amusement park.

 

Werne declined to discuss why the Kochs are interested in operating another park only about 80 miles from Holiday World.

 

The fair board last fall ended more than a year of negotiations with Louisville businessman Ed Hart about operating Kentucky Kingdom.

 

He had raised significant money toward reopening the park.

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