A new report claims that the defunct Kentucky Kingdom theme park is set to remain closed in 2012, with state legislators unlikely to approve a $50 million bond in time for it reopen.
The prospective new owners of Kentucky Kingdom have already launched a website showing off their plans for the park, but are dependent on the bond in order to finance its return to operations. The Kentucky Kingdom Redevelopment Company had originally hoped that the park would reopen in 2011, but have already conceded that 2012 is the earliest possible target. Even this now looks unlikely, with the Louisville Courier-Journal reporting that the funds are unlikely to be forthcoming in the immediate future.
The report claims that the state is unlikely to approve the bond this year, with no legislation having been filed to authorize it. The potential owners have conceded that a delay is possible, with spokeswoman Susan McNeese Lynch telling the Courier-Journal that the 2012 plan "would have to be revisited" but that "there are so many variables, so many things that could happen".
The Kentucky Kingdom Redevelopment company is headed-up by Ed Hart, who rescued Kentucky Kingdom from a previous bankruptcy in 1989. It plans to spend around $30 million of the bond on new attractions, with the rest being used to restore the park's rides and facilities following its year-long closure. Included in the plans would be a major new rollercoaster, at a cost of between $8 million and $10 million.
In addition to the new coaster, Hart also plans to double the size of Kentucky Kingdom's water park (known as Splashwater Kingdom prior to its closure). This would see 16 additional slides added to the park, helping to convert what Hart sees as a "neglected" attraction into a major draw for guests.
Six Flags announced the closure of Kentucky Kingdom in January 2010, 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.