Ed Hart back with a $40 million proposal to reopen Kentucky Kingdom

Posted Wednesday, August 15, 2012 11:22 PM | Contributed by Jeff

Three prominent Louisville business leaders have joined former Kentucky Kingdom operator Ed Hart in a new $40 million proposal to reopen the abandoned amusement park in 2014. The proposal to the Kentucky State Fair Board is a second try by Hart to reopen the park. His group’s new bid seeks no state funding, except for tourism tax credits, which allow developers to recover a share of their investment by letting them keep some sales tax revenue the project generates.

Read more from The Courier-Journal.

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Thursday, August 16, 2012 12:03 AM

Six Flags bailed. The Koch's tried, but realized it just wasn't feasible. At this point, is it even worth salvaging the place? According to the Koch's, none of the major rides and coasters are even in workable condition. It's kind of like saving the Geauga Lake Big Dipper - in theory it would be a great idea, but it's just not feasible.

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Thursday, August 16, 2012 12:25 AM

I don't buy that kind of thinking. Leap the Dips was SBNO for twelve years, during which time it had no maintenance and very little care whatsoever, yet was brought back to operational readiness. So it can be done--it just depends how much an owner wants to do it.

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Thursday, August 16, 2012 1:26 AM

$40 million doesn't seem like it would be enough. Maybe Hart can snap up some of the stuff from Freestyle Music Park on the cheap though, plug up that big Chang hole.

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Thursday, August 16, 2012 2:56 AM

"plug up that big Chang hole"

Last edited by sws, Thursday, August 16, 2012 2:59 AM
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Thursday, August 16, 2012 4:02 AM

@sws....Exactly!

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Thursday, August 16, 2012 9:17 AM

Comparing the reconstruction of LTD to a multi-acre theme park is beyond ridiculous. On top of that while LTD might have been SBNO, the park it is in was not (and it still cost several million dollars to rebuild and get operational).

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Thursday, August 16, 2012 9:22 AM

I honestly didn't think we'd see Ed and the Fair board talking again.

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Thursday, August 16, 2012 10:04 AM

If this guy really has the resources to pull together that kind of money, why hasn't he done so already? I suspect that this effort will end much like his previous proposals for the park.

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Thursday, August 16, 2012 11:20 AM

I have always remained optimistic for Hart re-opening the park. I loved the park before he left. I enjoyed watching the park grow from 1990 when you had to cross the street to ride Thunder Run because the bridge was not built yet.

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Thursday, August 16, 2012 11:22 AM

I think some of you may be selling Ed Hart short - he's had success in quite-similar situations before. This is not one of those groups that comes along with a $500M enclosed environmental-themed park, or someone else trying to run Freestyle on a shoe-string. This is someone with knowledge and experience, and certainly an understanding of the Louisville market.

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Thursday, August 16, 2012 4:25 PM

Is that why he ditched it/left it in the first place?

I'm not convinced that this is a great market to be in. Louisville has The Derby and Thunder Over L-ville, and it gets warm in the summer, but I'm not convinced that an amusement park is that necessary. Holiday world one way, Kings Island the other, and I suppose Beech Bend is well within reach as well.

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Thursday, August 16, 2012 4:41 PM

Definitely something to that as well. The "glory days" of Kentucky Kingdom occurred when Beech Bend and HW were in completely different stages of their development. In some ways, KK's demise is partially responsible for the more recent growth of those two, if not KI in addition.

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Thursday, August 16, 2012 5:46 PM

Holiday World in KK's heyday would have been averaging about 750k visitors a year in the late 90's and Beech Bend was pretty small at that point, so I don't think that those two parks would make much of an impact on attendance today, especially if KK comes up with a good marketing plan, which I can see Ed doing if this happens.

With a good infrastructure (your highest cost) and a bunch of newer smaller rides (some new and some used) it is very possible at this point. Just look at Legoland, most of the buildings were retained and they built mostly new rides. Different climate, though.

I'm optimistic, as you can tell.

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Friday, August 17, 2012 10:42 AM

Jeff said:

Is that why he ditched it/left it in the first place?

I'm not convinced that this is a great market to be in. Louisville has The Derby and Thunder Over L-ville, and it gets warm in the summer, but I'm not convinced that an amusement park is that necessary. Holiday world one way, Kings Island the other, and I suppose Beech Bend is well within reach as well.

Holiday World is too crowded, and is kind of a miserable place to visit now. I've had friends tell me the same (and also have bad customer service, as I have). Of course if you've only been during enthusiast events, you won't have the same experience. They're too small a park to advertise (excessively) to the number of markets that they have. Beech Bend is a much better experience, but is too small for people to want to make a trip to revisit soon. Kings Island is likely too expensive to many. SFKK wasn't great, but had none of these problems.

Last edited by Clark Griswold, Friday, August 17, 2012 10:43 AM
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Friday, August 17, 2012 1:10 PM

Refreshing opinion. Thanks, Clark.

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Friday, August 17, 2012 1:31 PM

So Holiday World is like any other amusement park? Busy in the thick of the hot summer?

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Friday, August 17, 2012 1:48 PM

Jeff said:

So Holiday World is like any other amusement park?

Yes.

And in enthusiast circles, that's a revelation.

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Friday, August 17, 2012 1:53 PM

Wait...are you saying that HW may not be the heaven on earth that this site says it is? Clearly you blaspheme!

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Friday, August 17, 2012 2:03 PM

According to Yogi Berra, nobody goes there anymore. It's too crowded.

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