Freestyle Music Park has laid off its remaining permanent employees and closed its offices, as its owners struggle to finalize an investment deal to keep the park open for the 2010 season.
Management of the park in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina say that it is almost out of funds and intends to focus on bring new investors in to save the business. However, without a permanent staff it is difficult to see how the park can prepare adequately for the 2010 season, and it seems there is a real risk of it following in the footsteps of Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom and failing to reopen.
That risk is heightened by the fact that the proposed investment deals on the table are contingent on the park opening in 2010. Therefore, management say that they are working to complete deal "within days", enabling them to rehire staff and open Freestyle Music Park in time for the summer season.
The current Russian owners have blamed the downturn in the economy for the park's current financial straits. A number of suppliers are owed money by the park, and it is currently facing over a dozen mechanic's liens and nine lawsuits as creditors look to recoup money from the failing business.
General Manager Steve Baker has defended the actions of park management, and promised that the management team will continue to work around the clock to bring in new investment. "We still take our financial obligations seriously and will do everything we can do to resolve them. There's a great future for this park. It just needs a chance and hasn't had that yet" he said in a statement.
Freestyle Music Park has struggled to stay afloat since opening in April 2008 under the Hard Rock Park name. Visitor numbers fell well short of the owner's 3 million target and the park was forced to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, closing its gates in September 2008. It was then picked up by FPI MB Entertainment for just $25 million, having cost a reported $400 million to build. It reopened for the 2009 season under the Freestyle Music Park name, but has continued to be plagued by poor attendance figures and financial problems.