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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 is also a VERY different time in the business world (and the world in general) than when those parks were built. Back then you didn't have theme parks run by publicly traded companies whose investors demand larger returns year after year no matter what it causes. There can be heart behind the company, but at the end of the day the almighty $$$ wins out.

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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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I understand and agree, that in the end, money will win out. But I think it's unfair to say that no emotion should be involved. Look at Knoebles and what they are trying to accomplish with Flying Turns. It's been in the works for over 5 years! Most parks would have cut there loses and moved on long ago, but they keep working away trying to perfect it. That's passion and commitment, even in this very different time. I dunno... I guess I don't see it as black and white as "good business" and "emotionally invested" being mutually exclusive.

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So the state wants a private developer to come in, give them ZERO assistance for land that they own, make them FULLY pay to repair rides the state owns and has done NOTHING to maintain, not give the developer ANY ownership/property rights for their investment, and then sit back and rake in money from a lease that will make it VERY difficult for a developer to make their money back a grow the business, all while not agreeing to back the developer when it does fail because the state sets them up for it? Riiiiiight.

 

And Ed Hart STILL wants in? He should probably check his ego at the door...

 

I honestly think Ed Hart wants in because he knows it will fail and just wants to take the states money and run.

 

It's in the best interests of both parties to meet in the middle, but that makes too much sense...

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The document lists these “deal breakers — prohibitions”:

  • Any response will not be evaluated if it relies on funds to be appropriated by the General Assembly.
  • The response cannot propose any private ownership interest in any of the property located on the park grounds. All the land and improvements are owned by the state and must remain state property.
  • The response cannot mandate that the state be responsible for curing any default on behalf of the operator.

 

This bit right here will keep pretty much anyone away from. I don't see how they could make any money on this project, given the massive amount of money they're going to have to spend just to bring the property up to be useable again.

 

dt

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^Yeah, I'm a bit confused as to what they think they bring to the table at this point. Why would anyone put in the necessary 10s of millions into capital improvements if they don't even get to retain ownership rights? Talk about misaligned incentives.

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  • 4 weeks later...

http://www.courier-journal.com/article/20121011/OPINION02/310110010/Goal-Saturday-s-rally-Reopen-Kentucky-Kingdom?odyssey=mod%7Cnewswell%7Ctext%7CHome%7Cs

 

In recent weeks, former employees and park guests have been offering support and sharing memories of Kentucky Kingdom via the SaveMyPark.com website and Save Kentucky Kingdom on Facebook. While it’s evident the community wants our theme park restored, many don’t realize how close we are to losing Kentucky Kingdom.

 

We are concerned about the lack of urgency and transparency among our elected officials regarding negotiations with prospective operators and a general sense among city and state government that someone will eventually step in and redevelop the property. The fact is that time is running out.

 

Our biggest frustration is that the state has apparently decided to ignore Kentucky Kingdom’s past financial contributions and bury the results of its own economic impact study — which clearly defines Kentucky Kingdom as a key economic engine that benefits not only the city of Louisville, but the entire state. After three years of stating that the re-opening of Kentucky Kingdom is a “top priority,” Gov. Steve Beshear recently introduced the notion that “we need to see if an amusement park even makes sense” and indicated that Kentucky Kingdom’s reopening might be too risky for the taxpayers. Such statements should be a wake-up call for the community.

 

The Fair Board recently projected a $5.4 million deficit for fiscal year 2013 and needed $5.5 million from the state to cover its operating costs for the 2012 fiscal year. Yet Kentucky Kingdom, which could be producing much-needed revenue, still sits idle. Talk about “leaving the taxpayer holding the bag!”

 

Think about it: Kentucky Kingdom, while operating on state property for 20 years, never cost the taxpayers any money — it actually generated many millions of dollars for the state through lease payments, parking revenues, and other direct and indirect economic benefits. The theme park is also a key selling point for conventions, an industry our state depends on and in which it continues to invest heavily. Outside of Orlando and Anaheim, Louisville is the only other city in the US which offers convention planners not only state-of-the art exhibition space and quality hotels, but a world-class theme park — all within walking distance. Yet our elected officials continue to question whether this business makes sense!

 

While we are not advocates for any one operator to the state’s request-for-proposal process, we have been at a loss to learn who, besides Ed Hart and his team, intends to submit a proposal. Everything surrounding the process has been veiled in secrecy, leading us to ask whether there will ever be a public forum to hear these proposals and learn what experience potential operators may have and what their commitment would be toward our park and community.

 

Many of us witnessed the spectacular rise and subsequent fall of this property as it shifted from a local operator focusing 100 percent of his energy and resources toward ensuring Kentucky Kingdom’s success, to a national operator (Six Flags Corp.) that operated many theme parks across the world. Once owned and operated by Six Flags, Kentucky Kingdom did not receive the resources it needed to survive, and as a result park attendance and guest experience suffered. Kentucky Kingdom was later abandoned by Six Flags when they filed for bankruptcy reorganization in 2009.

 

Our group’s passion for reopening Kentucky Kingdom can be attributed to the pride many of us have in our past association with the original, local ownership, that did what was considered impossible back in 1990; reopening Kentucky Kingdom — the “formerly bankrupt kiddie park” — and grow it into a successful business, good corporate citizen, and signature theme park of international renown. However to be clear, our group is willing to support any competent operator with the funding and experience to restore Kentucky Kingdom to its rightful place as a valuable asset to this community, providing hundreds of summertime jobs for high school and college students. After all, that’s where many of us got our first job years ago!

 

This Saturday we are hosting a rally to gather additional input and show community support for the reopening of Kentucky Kingdom. Join us at the Executive Strike & Spare parking lot — adjacent to the Fairgrounds with the park rides as our backdrop — beginning at 1 pm. More information is available on our website http://www.SaveMyPark.com and our facebook page, Save Kentucky Kingdom.

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So, Saturday the're asking for support for Kentucky Kingdom by having people show up at the bowling alley outside of the Fairground's main entrance.

 

Since I'm not very busy this Saturday... I might actually go. Heck, maybe even take pictures. It all depends on whether I do go home from college tomorrow or not.

 

It's very hard for me to further support Kentucky Kingdom due to the Fair Board, the state, and the current condition of the park making it so difficult to reopen it, but I wouldn't mind physically showing some kind of support for a reopening. I also don't know what's going to be there, or who's going to be there, but according to the 300+ people on Facebook who says they're going I'm thinking it might be somewhat interesting.

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Would love to hear the opinion of someone who was there.

 

Here is what is being reported by Louisville's Courier Journal

 

http://www.courier-journal.com/article/20121013/NEWS01/310130058/Kentucky-Kingdom-supporters-rally?odyssey=nav%7Chead

 

 

Kentucky Kingdom supporters rally

5:26 PM, Oct 13, 2012

Written by: Dan Klepal, The Courier-Journal

 

More than 100 people attended a rally Saturday in support of reopening the Kentucky Kingdom amusement park, which was closed in 2009 and abandoned by Six Flags after it filed for bankruptcy .

 

The Kentucky State Fair board has set a next Friday deadline for proposals from developers who would reopen the park, but members of the Save My Park organization, savemypark.com and facebook.com/SaveKentuckyKingdom, say they are concerned that state politicians aren’t committed to the project.

 

John Mulcahy, a member of the group’s alumni committee, which is made up of people who formerly worked at the park, said they are concerned about Gov. Steve Beshear’s comments this summer indicating that the park could be torn down.

 

Mulcahy also said that those comments don’t make sense given that the fair board has had budget deficits the past two years, and that the state’s economic study estimates the park would generate about $11 million in annual revenue, plus new tax revenue and money taken in by hotels and restaurants near the fairgrounds.

 

“Why is it taking so long? It just defies explanation,” Mulcahy said. “We should all be up in arms … that a property like Kentucky Kingdom could be put in front of the wrecking ball.”

 

Louisville businessman Ed Hart, who was Kentucky Kingdom's chief executive for about a decade before Six Flags took over in 2000, negotiated with the Kentucky Fair Board for months in 2010 about reopening the park before talks were abruptly cut off.

 

After that, the owners of Holiday World made a run at operating the park before dropping the effort.

 

Earlier this summer, Hart announced yet another attempt to reopen the park with new partners. He will participate in the competitive proposal process; it is unclear how many other potential developers will place bids.

 

Louisville Metro Councilman Dan Johnson, whose 21st District is home to the park, said during the rally that Beshear was “playing politics” with the park.

 

“Ed Hart stood up to the task and would have had it open by now,” Johnson said. “Let’s hope the fair board gets (its) act together. I think Gov. Beshear has played politics enough with this park. It needs to be … opened now.”

 

Brian Smith, a community activist and self-proclaimed “roller coaster enthusiast” attended the rally and said in an interview that the process of trying to reopen the park has lacked transparency.

 

“The fair board has kicked the can to the far end of the road while this park has deteriorated from neglect," Smith said.

 

Hart has said he wants to reopen the park in 2014. Hart's group would put $10 million in equity into the park and borrow $30 million.

 

The economic impact study said the park's reopening would eventually create about 1,200 jobs, primarily hospitality positions and some construction employment. A economic impact study of the 4th Street Live entertainment district, released last week, concluded that hospitality jobs in Jefferson County increased by 1,300 between 2001-09, but that the county lost all that growth after 2010.

 

“This decline is presumably due to the closure of Kentucky Kingdom,” the report says.

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In my opinion this park is done

 

This saga will never end. I have a question for anyone who knows or has some of an idea, what rides and attractions are in good enough shape (if any) to fix and reopen.

 

The rides aren't even in bad shape. Inside the park, Kentucky Kingdom looks as if it has closed yesterday for the winter season believe it or not. Obviously though, the woodies and mile high falls will need some heavy work.

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^I'm pretty sure I heard the opposite, hence why the Koch family abandoned the park once they realized it would cost too much for them to fix it.

 

In reality, the Koch family didn't wont anything to do with Kentucky Kingdom...JS

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I see the state fair board as they want only a certain person to offer even tho the company who the fair board want to make an offer on does not make an offer. Then a company tries to take it over so the fair board does not want that companies offer. That is how I have been seeing this for the last 3 years

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I see the state fair board as they want only a certain person to offer even tho the company who the fair board want to make an offer on does not make an offer. Then a company tries to take it over so the fair board does not want that companies offer. That is how I have been seeing this for the last 3 years

 

Ouch! My brain hurts trying to figure out what you see.

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Mostly what this situation comes off as this to me:

 

The fair board want an operator to bring their personal money to the table, buy/fix all the rides themselves, share all the profits and in the end won't ever own the physical park. Yep, sounds like the Government.

 

That in the end is why the Koch's walked away.

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Sorry it took so long for me to respond to the "gathering." I'm going to resize the photos as soon as I can and upload them here. For now, here's a bunch of words!

 

Okay. So Saturday I got ready for what was supposed to be a "large media" rally outside of Kentucky Kingdom. Something I expected were to be a bunch of people holding picket signs and chanting towards a speaker that stood at the front of a crowd of said 300 people.

 

What I saw when I got there were a few hundred people (many were families with small children.) gathering on the side of the lot closest to the park, 7 booths (4 of which were home-made carnival games) and one DJ deck all set under multiple tents, and a stage se up with a backdrop of the SBNO amusement park. There was a registration table taking count of all the people that showed up at the event, and there were a few people walking around with the petition paper for get the park reopened.

 

One of the most notable booths set up there was an ACE midwest booth, who had a few sheets for people to fill out (I forgot to see what was on them =-/ ) and a coaster dynamics model roller coaster that they had sent around a few times; and with my A.D.D. taking over, found myself entranced with watching it go a few times.

 

Anyways, after standing around a little awkwardly for nearly an hour, and even introducing myself to one of the people at the ACE booth once, they began the speeches. It was basically what was explained in the Courier Journal article on the previous page, so I don't feel like re explaining things. I guess the true "rally" portion came in once Louisville Metro Councilman Dan Johnson started speaking. He brought up his voice during his speech. They even allowed one person from the ACE group to make a speech.

 

And that was pretty much that. The event winded down with people and kids staying to converse and play a few games at the four home-made carnival game booths.

 

Personally, I was pretty disappointed with the outcome, especially with how little people showed up. When they advertised a rally to save the park, I expected a somewhat larger show-up of people. But I probably shouldn't have. I was glad to help be part of the supporters and sign the petition, but I believe this Thursday is the deadline for someone to take the park up...

 

Not say that the park is not going to be saved, but my hopes for it being revived is far from high at this point.

 

In my opinion this park is done

 

This saga will never end. I have a question for anyone who knows or has some of an idea, what rides and attractions are in good enough shape (if any) to fix and reopen.

 

The rides aren't even in bad shape. Inside the park, Kentucky Kingdom looks as if it has closed yesterday for the winter season believe it or not. Obviously though, the woodies and mile high falls will need some heavy work.

I took a walk around the park and took a few photos that may change your opinion.

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In my opinion this park is done

 

This saga will never end. I have a question for anyone who knows or has some of an idea, what rides and attractions are in good enough shape (if any) to fix and reopen.

 

The rides aren't even in bad shape. Inside the park, Kentucky Kingdom looks as if it has closed yesterday for the winter season believe it or not. Obviously though, the woodies and mile high falls will need some heavy work.

Oh they are in bad shape judging from this TR in 2011.

 

Link: http://queencitydiscovery.blogspot.com/2012/02/from-ruins-of-kingdom-boardwalk-rises.html

 

If the saga keeps going it will end up like this.

 

Link: http://www.craigfergusonimages.com/2009/07/katolis-world-abandoned-dreams-and-urbex-heaven/

Link: http://www.rcdb.com/3516.htm?p=0

Link: http://www.rcdb.com/3515.htm?p=0

 

&

 

Link: http://www.michaeljohngrist.com/2010/09/nara-dreamland-japans-last-abandoned-theme-park/

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