The Mayor of Louisville has backed a proposal to issue a $17.5 million bond that would enable the closed Kentucky Kingdom theme park to reopen in 2012.
The Courier-Journal reports that Greg Fischer has described the bond as a "responsible investment". However, the Mayor has not fully agreed to prospective operator Ed Hart's plans for the park, instead issuing a counter-proposal that would require a third investor to guarantee part of the bond.
WHAS11.com reports that Hart has backed the plan, agreeing to invest $7 million of his own money alongside the bond. However, the Kentucky State Fair Board, which owns the Kentucky Kingdom site, is still studying the proposal.
The Mayor, along with Chief Financial Officer Steve Rowland, has estimated that the city would receive around $1 million per year from taxes and parking fees from Kentucky Kingdom, helping to pay off the debt. A further $500,000 per year would be required to clear it within 20 years, with this expected to come from revenues generated by the park. However, the Mayor has asked for an investor to be brought in to guarantee this income in the case that the park fails.
The new plan would see Kentucky Kingdom opened on a limited basis in 2012, with several key elements of Hart's ambitious original plans dropped. Proposals to add a major new rollercoaster, to expand the water park and to reopen the T2 and Twisted Twins rollercoasters would be dropped. However, several smaller attractions would be added and the water park would still have receive a limited upgrade, alongside refurbishments to existing rides.
Former operator 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 nine remaining years on the lease - instead offering the state a cut of any potential future profits.