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Freestyle Music Park has moved a step closer to permanent closure after its owners missed an April 1 deadline to pay off $570,000 in debts.

The failure to meet the deadline - already extended from the original February date - makes it very unlikely that the park will reopen for the 2010 season. However, there are still options available to the owners to try and salvage the park's long-term future, including filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy for the second time since its 2008 opening.

Freestyle Music Park's owners, FPI MB Entertainment, still claim to be seeking the new investment that is needed to clear the park's debts and enable it to reopen. However, with a bare minimum of 6 weeks required to prepare the park for a new season, and with the company having laid off all of its permanent staff, a 2010 opening looks a remote possibility.

The Sun News reports that bankruptcy proceedings are still an option available to the owners, giving them protection from creditors as they seek to restructure the business. However, even if the park can be sold on to new owners question marks remain over its ability to turn a profit. Visitors numbers have fallen well short of projections in each of the park's two seasons so far.

Last week, the park's lawyer David Slough pointed to the economic downturn as a major reason for the owners' difficulty in attracting new investment He said: "It’s a tight credit market so any potential investors that are out there, it’s difficult for those investors to get the funds to invest in the park."

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.


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