Former Kentucky Kingdom owner Ed Hart has submitted a new bid to operate the shuttered theme park to the Kentucky State Fair Board.
The board is currently running a third tender process for prospective Kentucky Kingdom operators, after previous agreements with Hart and the owners of rival Holiday World fell through. It has set a 60-day deadline to name a new operator for the park, which has been closed since the end of the 2009 season.
BizJournals reports that Hart's Kentucky Kingdom Redevelopment Company submitted its latest proposals on August 15. These call for a $40 million investment to restore many of Kentucky Kingdom's rides to working order and reopen the park in 2014.
In a statement, Hart said: "We are encouraged by the governor’s and Fair Board’s intention to name an operator within 60 days, at the latest. Our plan calls for a $40 million investment, and we are ready to go at once. The fact is that any delay beyond the 60-day deadline will jeopardize our ability to reopen Kentucky Kingdom as a full-fledged theme park by 2014.”
Following the collapse of the deal with the Koch family, owners of Holiday World, Hart was highly critical of the Fair Board. He also suggested that the family had only become involved in the process in order to delay the reopening of Kentucky Kingdom - something that the Kochs strenously denied.
Kentucky Kingdom has been closed for nearly 3 years, following a failure by former operator Six Flags to agree changes to the park's lease. The Fair Board 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.