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Kentucky Kingdom (SFKK, KK) Discussion Thread

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^Wow, amazing report and photos. It states what happened without turning into a one-sided argument, and the photos are some of what i have never seen before.


Edit: I've also never heard of the Governor wanting to oust Harold Workman until I read that post. That's interesting.


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I just spent the last hour reading this report and it was fascinating. What I found the most surprising was how Holiday World advertised on the billboards right across the street from Kentucky Kingdom.



- 2009 photo of Kentucky Kingdom on the right and a Holiday World advertisement on the billboard across the street. Photo contributed by Paul Bonifield.

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  • 1 month later...

Not quite where they want to be at this time, but that's okay; slow and steady wins the race.






Bluegrass Boardwalk Says “We’re Not Quite Where We’d Like to Be”


by Devin Katayama on April 16, 2012



Officials with Bluegrass Boardwalk are still trying to secure business incentives to reopen the former Kentucky Kingdom amusement park next year.


The Kentucky State Fair Board approved to lease the property in February to the Koch family, which also owns Holiday World in Indiana. The new park is still expected to be open next year and will be called Bluegrass Boardwalk, keeping the same family-style values modeled at the family’s other amusement parks.


In February, co-owner Dan Koch estimated the business incentives package would be in place around April 15, and officials implied the group would submit its application in late February or early March. There have been several levels of review for the application, followed by requests for additional and updated information, said spokeswoman Paula Werne in an email.


Kentucky Tourism Arts and Heritage Cabinet spokesman Gil Lawson said an application was submitted this week and that application will likely take weeks to review and be voted on.


“I do not know how long that will take. We don’t have a scheduled board meeting yet, but we’re working on that. So as soon as we can get a board meeting together we’ll consider the application,” he said.


The state requires an applicant to meet certain goals in order to receive up to 25 percent of the investment back from the state for a ten year period beginning at the time the applicant meet the requirements, said Lawson.


“To qualify for our incentives, the tourism incentives, there’s several requirements. For example it has to have so many visitors a year from out of state. It has to have a minimum level of investment, It has to have a positive economic impact,” he said.


Bluegrass Boardwalk officials said the group is in the process of applying for state and local incentives.


“We have our financing in place,” said Werne.


The group previously said there would be up to a $20 million investment from the Kochs and private lenders. The price to open their previous parks was around $10 million, co-owner Dan Koch previously said.


Werne said Bluegrass Boardwalk is still expected to open next year.


“We’ve met on-site with a number of ride vendors and are eager to ‘push the button’ on some exciting new additions for the park,” she said.

Edited by larrygator
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Ever since the news of the Koch family taking over the park, I decided to write a story about it in my high school's newspaper. I drove 2 hours each way (from Indy) just to snap some pictures.


I didn't really know what to expect when I went, because I haven't been to Kentucky Kingdom since I was fairly young (5ish). I was surprised by how the Six Flag's branding was still everywhere. On tourism signs on the interstate, and more surprisingly on the Kentucky fair ground signs. I figured that at minimum those would have been removed, just due to the fact that Six Flags ran out and left them hanging with an empty theme park.


I'm surprised we don't here more about break-ins and such at the park. Yesterday I drove right through the toll booths and walked around snapping pictures for a good 45 minutes without seeing a single person. Interestingly enough, a police officer did come by and asked me what I was doing hanging around the fence, but he was friendly after I explained to him how I was writing a storty about the redevelopment of the area.




Interstate tourism signs still display the property as Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom.


The Ketntucky State Fair Grounds still display the Six Flags logo, which surprised me because of how quickly Six Flags removed their branding near the entrance area.


I quickly drove up on "Roller Skater?" .


Seeing the coaster untouched with grass and weeds grown up on it just had an eery feel to it.


The ride's lift hill


Weeds were covering parts of the ride


I'm looking forward to taking these pictures again next year just to see the difference. A new coat of paint will have this thing looking brand new.


It looks like a fun little ride


I thought I remembered seeing pictures of the ride's carts being down after the parked closed, but they were all up when I arrived.


The ride had a very rusty look to it, It will also look nice with a new paint job, even if it keeps the same colors.











I wonder if Bluegrass Boardwalk will have twisted twins ready by 2013?


This looked like it was from the original Kentucky Kingdom



The sign states an address and phone numbers for "Kentucky Kingdom Redevelopment Company" That was Ed Hart's former company, correct?

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Forward.... March!

(admins: please let me know if I posted this correctly and could one of you update the link below the "Thread Title" so it links directly to the page?)




The investors intending to open the Bluegrass Boardwalk amusement park, formerly Kentucky Kingdom, received preliminary approval Wednesday from a state board considering financial incentives for the venture.


The park is on schedule to begin operating in May 2013, with predictions that it will attract 600,000 people in its first year.


“We have the dollars, vision, skills and experience to transform this park into a jewel for Kentucky,” said Natalie Koch, one of the four people who formed Bluegrass Boardwalk Inc. The Koch family also owns Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari water park in Santa Claus, Ind., and in February received preliminary approval of a lease to run the former Kentucky Kingdom from the Kentucky State Fair Board.


The Kochs received an initial clearance Wednesday from the Kentucky Tourism Development Finance Authority of their request for $3.9 million in tourism tax credits toward the cost of opening the park at the Kentucky Exposition Center, which last operated in 2009 and was abandoned amid a bankruptcy by the Six Flags organization.


The next step will be for a consultant to conduct an economic-impact study of the project to make sure it meets the statutory requirements for the tax credits. Requirements include that the park be open at least 100 days a year, that it draw at least 25 percent of its visitors from out of state and that it has a positive economic impact on the state’s general fund.


Gil Lawson, spokesman for the state cabinet that includes tourism, said the tourism authority will probably meet in about two months to give final review to the tax-credit application, or after the study is completed. The Kochs hope to get a rebate of $3.9 million, or 25 percent of their planned $15.6 million initial investment in the project. The money is claimed in annual installments over 10 years in the form of a rebate on state sales tax the project generates.


Dan Koch, chief executive officer of Holiday World and one of the Bluegrass Boardwalk partners, said the Kochs have lined up the major mortgage for the venture. He declined to name the lender.


The Kochs estimate annual attendance will rise to nearly 800,000 in 10 years. In its first year, the park expects to employ about 25 full-time and 800 seasonal workers, generating a first-annual payroll of $4.7 million. The return to the fair board under the lease the first year will be about $880,000, and then increase annually, the Kochs said.


The Kochs said the park will be marketed largely to metro Louisville, Southern Indiana and Ohio. They said Bluegrass Boardwalk will offer free soft drinks, sunscreen, rafts and inner tubes.

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I look forward to see what they will do with the place. I remember going there with TPR in 2007 (shortly after the "incident" on Superman) and really enjoyed the park.


Is it just me, or is the biggest barrier to this property the City and State? At this juncure, politics and beuacracy seem to be what has bogged the whole process down, both for Mr. Hart and for the Koch's.

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^From my point of view, sort of, yes. That's what it has been looking like. But it seems more like the fault was driven by the KY State Fair Board (unless you count them as politics and what-not).


And to itsasamccormick, great photos! I drove by the park as well last August, except it took me about 30 minutes. I didn't get to see roller skater, but I did see how a lot of the other rides in their conditions that day. Quite sad.


FYI, I have heard that people have snuck into the park once or twice.


Edit: Here are the photos I took of the park.

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The Bluegrass Boardwalk group has been granted preliminary approval for state tax incentives this week, bringing the amusement park one step closer to opening. The group is owned by Indiana’s Koch family, which also operates Holiday World in Indiana. The Kentucky State Fair Board agreed to lease the former Kentucky Kingdom property to the Koch’s earlier this year.


Bluegrass Boardwalk has been been tentatively approved this week by the Tourism Development Finance Authority for nearly $4 million in tourism tax credits, but it depends on meeting certain goals.


The state must now order an economic impact statement to finalize the group’s plans, said Gil Lawson, spokesman for the Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet. “We’re estimating that will take about two months. Once that’s complete the results of the study then come back to the authority for review and then for consideration for final approval,” said Lawson.


The Kochs released their goals for the next 10 years, which include growth in payroll, attendance and jobs (see below). Bluegrass Boardwalk still expects to open in May of next year and to remain open for 106 days in 2013.


  • Goal: Open Bluegrass Boardwalk in May, 2013, with revitalized rides and water park.
  • Provide: Safe, clean, friendly, fun experience for families, with “freebies” including free soft drinks, free sunscreen and free use of inner tubes.
  • First year investment: $15.6 million. Additional investments will be made by Bluegrass Boardwalk, Inc., each year to ensure steady attendance growth.
  • First year’s schedule: Open for 106 days in 2013.
  • Destination Marketing: Staff will work with area tourism entities to create and promote destination marketing programs to ensure at least 25% of attendance will be from out of state.
  • Projected Attendance Growth: 600,000 in 2013, growing to 782,864 in 2022.
  • Projected Job Creation: 25 fulltime/805 seasonal in 2013, growing to 43 and 976 in 2022.
  • Projected Payroll: $4.7 million in 2013, growing to $6.1 million in 2022.
  • Projected State Fair Board Revenue: $880,000 in 2013, growing to $1.8 million in 2022.

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As for me, I'm all for this park to reopen as Bluegrass Boardwalk because an amusement park is a terrible thing to let go to waste. 'Tis a pity that it won't be opening this year because I'll be heading in that direction on my way to St. Louis.


As for the pictures, we saw pictures of Greezed Lighting, The Roller Skater, Twisted Twins, and T2. Too bad you couldn't get any pictures of Thunder Run (because it's buried deep inside the middle of the park), but according to the roller coaster data base (in which I've been using so I don't get the coaster names mixed up) the coaster is still there. Now I'm wondering what other flat rides are still there and what more will the new company add to this new Bluegrass Boardwalk since there were quite a few attractions that took up alot of space that Six Flags took out before they lefted for good?


I know the answer: wait and see.


I wish them the best of luck to reopen this park because (do I need to say it again?) an amusement park is a terrible thing to let go to waste.


"Actually, a bed with a soft pillow on top is a terrible thing to let go to waste, and that's what you've been doing, buster!"

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Yeah, it does seem a little low, but if they are just planning on getting the place opened and running again it would probably be enough, might even be able to add something new to the water park. I think I'm most interested in seeing if they keep the park layout basically as is or if they do a major overhaul and expand the water park into the old Chang land plot (or elsewhere).

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