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State Fair Board agrees $2 million deal with Six Flags to keep Kentucky Kingdom rides (updated)

Kentucky Kingdom entrance

The Kentucky State Fair Board has reached an agreement with former Kentucky Kingdom operator Six Flags which will enable the park to reopen for the 2011 season.

The deal will see the Fair Board take ownership of the sixty acres of the park that are owned by Six Flags, and all but one of its rides. Six Flags will receive $2 million as part of the agreement, and will no longer be required to pay overdue rent and back taxes to the state.

The identity of the ride that is not included in the deal is yet to be revealed, although it is possible that it is Chang - the stand-up rollercoaster which has already been removed from Kentucky Kingdom. The ride is expected to be installed at Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey in time for the 2011 season.

Update: The ride's identity has been revealed as the Road Runner Express wild mouse rollercoaster, a Maurer Söhne creation which was installed at the park in 2000. The total value of the deal (accounting for the forgiven tax debts and back rent) has also been revealed as $7.3 million.

The deal paves the way for Kentucky Kingdom to reopen in time for the summer 2011 season, with former owner Ed Hart currently in talks with the Fair Board around a lease agreement for the park. The board's president, Harold Workman, has previously stated that he hopes to conclude a deal with Hart's KK Redevelopment Company by July 31.

Both Hart and the Fair Board still face further challenges in getting Kentucky Kingdom back into operation. Workman has claimed that upgrading the theme park and its associated Splashwater Kingdom water park could cost as much as $20 million. Hart will contribute just $3 million of this, with the Fair Board seeking to raise the rest through a bond issue.

Six Flags announced the closure of Kentucky Kingdom in January, following a failure to agree changes to the park's lease. The Fair Board claims that Six Flags proposed that it pay no rent for the 9 remaining years on the lease - instead offering the state a cut of any potential future profits.

The company, which runs an extensive chain of parks across North America, initially said that it intended to move many of Kentucky Kingdom's rides to those parks and to offer employees the chance to relocate.


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