Hopes that the closed Kentucky Kingdom theme park could reopen during 2012 have been dashed, after the prospective operator failed to agree a financing deal with state authorities.
Wave3.com reports that the Kentucky Kingdom Redevelopment Company is still waiting on an agreement with the Kentucky General Assembly to provide $20 million in funding. The company, headed by former Kentucky Kingdom owner Ed Hart, has succeeded in securing $29 million in private funding, but requires the public funds in order to fully restore the park to operations.
Hart claims that it is now impossible to reopen the park until 2013 at the earliest due to the lead times involved in order new rides and refurbishing existing attractions. His firm is currently negotiating a new lease agreement for Kentucky Kingdom, with its existing deal due to expire at the end of September.
The bid to reopen Kentucky Kingdom received a boost in August, when hotel operator the Al J. Schneider company offered to guarantee loans made to the Kentucky Kingdom Redevelopment Co. The Scheider company currently owns several hotel properties close to Kentucky Kingdom, including the Crowne Plaza Louisville Airport.
The Kentucky Kingdom Redevelopment Company's plans would see most of Kentucky Kingdom's current roster of attractions restored to action in its first season back in operations. This would include the immediate reopening of T2, the first Vekoma Steel Suspended Looping Coaster to open in the US. The ride would receive a reprofiled track, new controls, new magnetic brakes and all-new trains. Two new family thrill rides would be added to the park, while its water park would also be expanded.
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.