Kentucky Kingdom entrance

A deal with former owner Ed Hart to take over the lease for the shuttered Kentucky Kingdom theme park is reportedly set to be considered by the state Fair Board on January 24, 2013.

Hart's Kentucky Kingdom Redevelopment Company has been locked in talks with the Fair Board over a potential rescue of the park for the last few months. With no other bids on the table, it would appear that a deal with Hart is the only option for reopening the park, with two previous revival attempts having failed since its 2009 closure.

The Louisville Courier-Journal quotes Chairman Ron Carmicle as saying that a lease deal should be discussed at the board's next meeting, which falls on January 24. If the terms of the lease can be agreed, then Hart's firm will still need to secure financing for the rescue - an obstacle that has caused previous deals to collapse.

Details of how Hart's bid will be financed are yet to be finalized, with a previous agreement between the Kentucky Kingdom Redevelopment Company and the Kentucky State Fair Board having collapsed in acrimonious circumstances. Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear has previously made clear that the state will not guarantee any debt used to fund the reopening of Kentucky Kingdom, while expressing confidence that a solution will be found.

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 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.


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