The prospective operators of the shuttered Kentucky Kingdom theme park have received a further boost after state authorities approved up to $10 million in sales tax rebates for the park.
The rebates will be spread over a period of 10 years, and are dependent on the performance of Kentucky Kingdom over that period. This will enable former owner Ed Hart's Kentucky Kingdom Redevelopment Company to finance the reopening of the park, which is expected to cost at least $45 million in total. Private financing for the project is not expected to be finalised until the end of June 2013.
The rebates were approved by the Kentucky Tourism Development Finance Authority, with Kentucky Kingdom entitled to claim back up to 25 percent of its capital costs over the next decade. The park qualified for the incentives due to its expected positive impact on the region, including the creation of more than 400 full-time jobs.
The Kentucky Kingdom Redevelopment Company had previously reached a deal with the State Fair Board to take control of the park in 2011, but this subsequently collapsed. The firm's original plans for Kentucky Kingdom involved spending an initial $23 million to bring many of the park's current roster of attractions back into operations. This would have included the immediate reopening of T2, the first Vekoma Steel Suspended Looping Coaster to open in the US. Changes are expected to be made to these plans as a result of the new deal.
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.