Kentucky Kingdom entrance

The prospective new operator of the shuttered Kentucky Kingdom has reportedly asked for a 60-day extension to a deadline for securing private funding to reopen the theme park.

The Louisville Courier-Journal reports that Ed Hart's Kentucky Kingdom Redevelopment Group is likely to be granted the extension by the Kentucky State Fair Board, which owns the Kentucky Kingdom site. Hart claims that the "deal is going to get done" but that "we just need a little more time to close all the paperwork."

Hart's group will reportedly need to put in more of its funds than initally expected in order to secure a substantial loan, which will be used to refurbish the park's attractions. The project is expected to cost at least $45 million in total. The firm recently received a boost when state authories approved up to $10 million in sales tax rebates, spread over a period 10 years.

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.


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