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Shane

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whas11.com said:
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- In a statement released Monday from the Koch family it says everything is still in the beginning phases but that the family is interested in finding out more about the options of Kentucky Kingdom's future.

The Koch’s have owned Holiday World and Splashin' Safari in Southern Indiana since 1946 and say they are always looking for ways to expand their business.

Kentucky Kingdom shut down in 2010 after the operator, at the time Six Flags, filed for bankruptcy. Investors and even city efforts to reopen the park have all failed.

A spokesperson for the Koch family tells me as of Monday night she did not believe the Koch family had made any offers yet to take over the park.
http://www.whas11.com/news/Owners-of-Holiday-World-say-they-are-interested-in-Kentucky-Kingdom-137454353.html

So I was really disappointed when Ed Hart's group failed to save Kentucky Kingdom. Though I hadn't had the chance to visit it when it was open, Kentucky Kingdom was a special place for my extended family and we were looking forward to Ed Hart re-saving the park. As we all know funding was an issue with the park and stopped it from moving forward. I had basically lost hope of finally getting to visit the park.

Now I have been to Holiday World and I will say it is one of the best amusement parks in the country. If this news is true this could be big! Really Big.

What are your thoughts on Holiday World taking over Kentucky Kingdom? What do you think the Knoch family would do with that park and do you think it will be as good as Holiday World?

Discuss...
 
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Apr 29, 2011
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RE: Holiday World Courting Kentucky Kingdom

I personally don't like this idea.

Kentucky Kingdom is a crap park and has a bizarre layout due to it being split in half by the Kentucky Fairgrounds entry road. The only rides left that are worth saving are Greezed Lightnin and Thunder Run. There isn't any more room for expansion and there is a height restriction because it sits right next to the airport.

But mostly it comes down to working with the Kentucky State Fair Board. As a park operator I would not want to deal with them. They are the main reason why this park has failed to reopen after Six Flags shut it down.
 

b.mac

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RE: Holiday World Courting Kentucky Kingdom

well they went through with it and Kentucky Kingdom is now known as Bluegrass Boardwalk. They're slated to open in 2013 and haven't announced anything besides that, like new rides or shows.
 
Apr 29, 2011
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RE: Holiday World Courting Kentucky Kingdom

LMAO!

They took over a big dud!

This article states that no big coasters will open and they may delay opening for year!

http://www.courier-journal.com/article/20120524/NEWS01/305240076

Will Koch is turning in his grave!
 
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b.mac

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RE: Holiday World Courting Kentucky Kingdom

I think it would be a smarter idea for them to hold of until 2014 and try to get as much as they can fixed and figured out. I'm fine with them having to remove some coasters that are too far out of shape, Twisted Twins hasn't been touched in well over 5 years and definitely takes up enough space for either another new coaster or some good flat rides. T2 just needs to go, it's a Hang-n-Bang SLC from the 1st generation and also hasn't been touched in a pretty long time, meaning that it's probably going to hurt someone if it gets approved to operate. I hope they can keep Greezed Lightnin' because Schwartzkopf Shuttles are really hard to come by, and the parts are rather slim, too. Trains don't worry me as much since Gerstlauer made successful replacement trains for Hersheypark and I'm sure they can do it again easily.
 
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RE: Holiday World Courting Kentucky Kingdom

B-Mac said:
I think it would be a smarter idea for them to hold of until 2014 and try to get as much as they can fixed and figured out. I'm fine with them having to remove some coasters that are too far out of shape, Twisted Twins hasn't been touched in well over 5 years and definitely takes up enough space for either another new coaster or some good flat rides. T2 just needs to go, it's a Hang-n-Bang SLC from the 1st generation and also hasn't been touched in a pretty long time, meaning that it's probably going to hurt someone if it gets approved to operate. I hope they can keep Greezed Lightnin' because Schwartzkopf Shuttles are really hard to come by, and the parts are rather slim, too. Trains don't worry me as much since Gerstlauer made successful replacement trains for Hersheypark and I'm sure they can do it again easily.

I can see them holding off til 2014. They are dealing with the Kentucky State Fair Board after all and they are a nightmare to work with.

T2 is a piece of junk and it should've been melted down already and put to better use.

As far as Greezed Lightnin' goes, the ride is just in overall bad shape. Yes they can replace the trains but the structure is old as hell and may need a lot work itself. And it wouldn't surprise me if it was irreparable.

At least they plan on opening Thunder Run. That's always been the best ride there.
 

Shane

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RE: Holiday World Courting Kentucky Kingdom

They've officially pushed it back to 2014:

http://bluegrassboardwalk.com/bluegrass-boardwalk-confirms-request-for-2014-opening/

Bluegrass Boardwalk confirms request for 2014 opening
May 30th, 2012 Paula

The following statement was released to inquiring news reporters this afternoon:

Opening Bluegrass Boardwalk in 2013 is no longer an option.

Bluegrass Boardwalk, Inc. CEO Natalie Koch asked the Fair Board today to modify the proposed lease to reflect a 2014 opening for the 58-acre park at their next monthly meeting.

“When the park was closed in 2009, needed winter maintenance was not been performed on the rides,” says Koch. “For example, pumps for the water rides were not removed for off-season winterization and inspection. Plumbing and structural infrastructure are in need of extensive repair. Buildings are damaged from leaky roofs. Rides are missing parts. The list goes on and on. We believe 75 percent of the rides will require significant overhaul following in-depth inspection by certified ride experts.”

Koch reports meeting on site with ride manufacturers, who have agreed 11 months is not long enough to open a safe and viable park.

“We will begin work as soon as we have a signed lease,” says Koch. “Until then, the clock is ticking and the park and its rides continue to deteriorate.”

Once a signed lease is in place, Koch says ride experts will begin detailed inspection of all rides.

“Only then will it be determined which rides will be open in 2014,” says Koch. “We have not announced our ride line-up yet, but plan to do so in the fall.”
 
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b.mac

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RE: Holiday World Courting Kentucky Kingdom

I'd rather wait 20 months for a fully operational park that doesn't look like half a ghost town than wait 9 and get a park with only 30% of its rides open
 
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RE: Holiday World Courting Kentucky Kingdom

Once a signed lease is in place, Koch says ride experts will begin detailed inspection of all rides.

“Only then will it be determined which rides will be open in 2014,” says Koch. “We have not announced our ride line-up yet, but plan to do so in the fall.”

I don't see them opening many of the existing rides especially if they are in dire need of repair. After what happened at Holiday World a decade ago at their Stark Raven Mad event when a rider was ejected off Raven, they have become very strict and militant with safety procedures.
 

Shane

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RE: Holiday World Courting Kentucky Kingdom

indystar.com said:
Since bankrupt Six Flags walked away from Kentucky Kingdom in early 2010, the Kentucky State Fair Board has done little more than tend to landscaping, provide security and do minimal upkeep at the amusement park and on the rides the board owns, according to the board’s chief.

Harold Workman, president and CEO of the fair board, said he didn’t know if Six Flags took any winter maintenance steps before abandoning the park in February 2010 — less than a week before a half-foot of snow fell in Louisville.

The board has “an excellent maintenance and ground staff, but we are not ride experts,” he said.

Now the park’s prospective new operators say the buildings have leaky roofs, none of the pumps for the water attractions were winterized, and three-quarters of the rides are inoperable and will need “significant overhaul.”

The park was “abandoned without concern for future viability” and none of the attractions and rides have been properly cared for, members of the Koch family wrote in documents seeking city incentives to invest in the site.

The Kochs, who own Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari in Santa Claus, Ind., have a preliminary agreement to reopen the park as Bluegrass Boardwalk, but they have pushed its opening back to spring 2014, partly because of its condition.

The Kochs have drafted a $15.6 million budget for reopening the park, which sets aside $6 million for improvements to existing buildings and rides, including more than $1.4 million for the water park.

In an email response Wednesday to questions about park conditions, Koch spokeswoman Paul Werne said, “We’re not planning to comment additionally on this topic.”

A statement from Bluegrass Boardwalk Inc. CEO Melanie Koch on the company’s website says it “will begin work as soon as we have a signed lease. ... Until then, the clock is ticking, and the park and its rides continue to deteriorate.”

The Kochs said again last week that lining up financing is taking longer than expected. They have a state application pending for up to $3.9 million in tourism tax credits. The fair board intends to give the family until at least mid-August to finalize financing.

Article Continued...
http://www.indystar.com/article/B2/20120610/NEWS01/306100062/Old-Kentucky-Kingdom-theme-park-maintenance-falls-short?odyssey=nav|head






So I take back my excitement that the Koch's were taking over. This would have been so much better if Ed Hart had gotten to do what he was going to do.
 

Shane

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RE: Holiday World Courting Kentucky Kingdom

courier-journal.com said:
FRANKFORT, KY. — The state agreed Wednesday to give the owners of the proposed Bluegrass Boardwalk water and amusement park tax breaks worth up to $3.9 million over 10 years, a key part of a financing deal expected to be complete this summer.

The approval by the Kentucky Tourism Development Finance Authority comes as Bluegrass Boardwalk’s partners – members of the Koch family that owns Holiday World in Santa Claus, Ind. - work to finalize a bank loan that would finance the bulk of the $15.6 million project.

“We’re very satisfied and we’re looking forward to moving forward on the project,” said Mike Kamp, a parnter in the project who attended the meeting.

While more work remains before the park to replace the former Kentucky Kingdom can advance, Kamp called the state approval “a major piece of the puzzle.”

Kamp said the overall financing package includes a $2.6 million investment from the Bluegrass Boardwalk partners and a $13 million loan from a group of banks led by Your Community Bank. The financing could be in place by the end of June, he said.

The Kentucky State Fair Board, owner of the park, has set an Aug. 16 date for Bluegrass Boardwalk to receive its state incentives and financing. Kamp said the developers also plan to ask the fair board for permission to open the park in 2014, rather than next year, at the board’s June or July meeting.

Bluegrass Boardwalk officials announced late last month that the park won’t open until 2014 at the earliest because the rides hadn’t been properly maintained since the old Kentucky Kingdom closed in 2009. In a statement, CEO Natalie Koch said that winter maintenance — removing pumps for the water rides, for instance — hadn’t been performed on the rides.

The tax incentives represent up to one-fourth of the overall investment and would be rebated based on sales taxes generated by the project.

Kentucky Tourism Secretary Marcheta Sparrow called the Bluegrass Boardwalk “a great addition. We certainly missed Kentucky Kingdom while it was closed.”

Sparrow said the tax rebates approved for Bluegrass Boardwalk are “fairly much in line with other incentives that we have improved.”

Kamp said the lease for running the park would be signed simultaneously with other financial documents. The deadline for a lease is Aug. 16.
 

Peter R.

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RE: Holiday World Courting Kentucky Kingdom

That property is in serious jeopardy as an Amusement Park if the Fair Board cannot find another interested party (Ed Hart has already said in this article that he is no longer interested in trying to reopen that property, as he doesn't want to deal with the BS anymore). The Fair Board may have screwed the pooch on this one by trying to force private investor to bend over backwards for them.


P.S. I just noticed this is post #150 for me!
 
Apr 29, 2011
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RE: Holiday World Courting Kentucky Kingdom

This park is doomed.

Just watching this video you can't help but notice the horrid condition of the park. It is severely deteriorated!

http://www.whas11.com/community/blogs/news-blog/Bluegrass-Boardwalk-withdraws-from-project-159238625.html
 

b.mac

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RE: Holiday World Courting Kentucky Kingdom

Kentucky State Fairboard is not a company worth communicating with and I'm so glad that they themselves finally realized it. The Koch's are nice and forgiving people and even they don't want to go through the trouble that is the Fairboard.
 
Apr 29, 2011
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RE: Holiday World Courting Kentucky Kingdom

Kentucky State Fairboard is not a company worth communicating with and I'm so glad that they themselves finally realized it.

The Kentucky State Fair Board is not a company. They are the governing agency of the state that controls the state fair and other entities like the convention center and trade shows. They are comprised of elected public officials, community leaders, etc. In other words they have absolutely no business owning an amusement park.

The Koch's are nice and forgiving people and even they don't want to go through the trouble that is the Fairboard.

I love the Kochs. I've met a few of them and they are some of the friendliest people on the planet. However, I think they got in way over their heads with this project. Seeing how the Fair Board ran Six Flags out of town and killed Ed Hart's plan to take over last year they really should've known the task at hand.

Seriously though, why would anyone want to "LEASE" an amusement park from a government agency?!
 

Shane

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RE: Holiday World Courting Kentucky Kingdom

I am really disappointed. I was really excited about Ed Hart and the Koch's. It's going to be hard to
let this one go for me.
 

Shane

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RE: Holiday World Courting Kentucky Kingdom

courier-journal.com said:
A long-anticipated deal to reopen Kentucky Kingdom, perhaps by spring 2014, was approved Thursday by the Kentucky State Fair Board.

A group headed by businessman Ed Hart, armed with a new 50-year lease for about 60 acres at the Kentucky Exposition Center where the amusement park has been since the mid-1980s, has 90 days to finalize financing.

“It’s gratifying to see this project finally coming together,” Hart said. “We believe we are up to the task. ... We look forward to the challenge.”

Hart’s team has agreed to invest $45 million — $20 million from him and his partners and $25 million expected to be borrowed over 10 years from an unidentified Kentucky bank. The park last operated in fall 2009 before Six Flags filed for bankruptcy and abandoned the lease.

The $45 million would be put toward restoring the park by 2017, including $1.5 million for new rides and $9 million for new water park improvements. After 2017, he must spend at least $1 million a year on park improvements. Even though his group would pay for the rides, they would be the state’s property.

The water park, Hurricane Bay, would be expanded on 4 acres adjacent to the park’s 57-acre parcel. Hart’s group would pay $475,000 annual rent to the state at first, increasing to a cap of $1.2 million.

Kentucky Kingdom also would get a share — up to 50 percent — of the money its visitors pay to park at the fairgrounds.

Hart’s group was the only entity that responded in October when the state put out the call for developers interested in reopening the park. Since then, Hart has been negotiating lease terms with state finance officials and Fair Board officials.

Hart expects he’ll be able to secure the $25 million loan once the group is approved for $1 million in 10 annual sales tax rebates.

In addition, the city is arranging for as much as $200,000 annually for 10 years including a partial rebate of the occupational tax revenues the park generates. The Louisville Convention & Visitors Bureau, which expects the park will help fill hotel rooms, has pledged $100,000 more annually for five years.


Highlights

• Hart’s group is to invest $45 million through 2017 in the park’s restoration. That includes $9 million in water park improvements, $2.9 million for new and refurbishing buildings, $1.5 million in new steel rides, and $3 million in concessions, vehicles, and replacement equipment.
• The lease covers 57 fairgrounds acres, plus four acres to expand the water park, Hurricane Bay.
• Hart’s rent will be $475,000 in 2014, increasing by $50,000 a year until it caps at $1.2 million for the remainder of the lease period. The Fair Board will also get 5 percent of any gross revenue in excess of $25 million a year.
• The board, which charges $8 to park at the fairgrounds, will give Kentucky Kingdom up to 50 percent of parking revenue.
• All rides and equipment, although paid for by Hart’s group, will belong to the state. The park assets will be used as collateral to secure the bank loan. Officials said land or park improvements totaling the value of any unpaid debt would be available to the lender if Hart’s group defaults.
• Hart can terminate the lease within 90 days for any unforeseen circumstance, such as an earthquake. The Fair Board can approve the sale of the lease rights and negotiate terms designed to protect the state’s interest.
what’s next

• Hart’s group has 90 days to arrange state tourism tax credits and secure private financing.
• Hart’s group will begin to put staff to work reopening the park as early as Feb. 1.
• The park could reopen in spring 2014.
 
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