The backers of the planned project to reopen the shuttered Kentucky Kingdom as Bluegrass Boardwalk have accepted that the theme park will remain closed throughout 2013.
The Koch family, who also run Holiday World in Indiana, confirmed in a statement on the Bluegrass Boardwalk website that the park will not now reopen until 2014. CEO Natalie Koch has requested that the Kentucky State Fair Board adjust the terms of a yet-to-be-agreed lease to reflect the new opening date.
While reports earlier this week blamed delays in the signing the lease and securing state tax credits for the postponement, the statement points to the condition of the park's rides as the major factor. It is claimed that no winter maintenance was performed at the park in 2009, when it was still operated by Six Flags - resulting in severe deterioration of many attractions and buildings.
The family believe that at least three-quarters of the park's rides will need significant repairs ahead of its return to action, which will not be possible in a timeframe that would allow a 2013 reopening date. It is unlikely that every attraction will reopen in 2014, with several of the park's roller coasters in particular expected to remain closed. A full line-up of attractions is expected to be announced in the fall.
Kentucky Kingdom has been closed since the end of the 2009 season, following a failure by former operator Six Flags to agree changes to the park's lease. The Kentucky State Fair Board, which owns the land occupied by the park, claimed at the time that the company proposed that it pay no rent for the remaining nine years on the lease - instead offering a cut of any potential future profits.