Non-maintenance of former Kentucky Kingdom blamed for opening delay

Posted Monday, June 11, 2012 1:15 PM | Contributed by Jeff

Since bankrupt Six Flags walked away from Kentucky Kingdom in early 2010, the Kentucky State Fair Board has done little more than tend to landscaping, provide security and do minimal upkeep at the amusement park and on the rides the board owns, according to the board’s chief. Harold Workman, president and CEO of the fair board, said he didn’t know if Six Flags took any winter maintenance steps before abandoning the park in February 2010 — less than a week before a half-foot of snow fell in Louisville. Now the park’s prospective new operators say the buildings have leaky roofs, none of the pumps for the water attractions were winterized, and three-quarters of the rides are inoperable and will need “significant overhaul.”

Read more from The Courier-Journal via The Indy Star.

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Monday, June 11, 2012 2:03 PM

Is it just me, or does it seem like everyone wants to blame Six Flags? They certainly had a major role in the disrepair and lack of maintenance and winterization. However, once Six Flags was gone, the responsibility reverted to the Fair Board. Where were they in all of this? It's not Six Flags fault they didn't hire proper staff to handle the situation. Could Six Flags have done more? Absolutely. And they probably should have. But, that still doesn't account for all of the neglect though.

Am I correct in saying the Koch's still haven't signed a lease? I thought I read something about it hinging on the states approval of the incentives. So, really, the fair board is still the one responsible at this point. If the deal with the Koch's falls through, will they continue to let everything rot?

Also, the state doesn't seem to be in much of a hurry here. I realize that bureaucracy takes time. But, you think that since they finally have a viable operator, they'd want to get things moving to get money flowing into the state again.

Monday, June 11, 2012 3:36 PM

There is much exaggeration on some issues, but its time to seek solutions to resolve the tasks given at hand. Its not rocket science to bring a dormant park back in action.

No matter what level of winterization took place, all of the equipment was not that old to begin with. There is no salt air issues, and the park was not under a month long blanket of snow and ice.

Time to put up or shut up. In similar reports, the only ride that needs a heavy rebuild is Twisted Sisters. You can open without that coaster.

Monday, June 11, 2012 5:06 PM

They already said the park will be opening without the coasters. I believe that was before they announced the delay. So, I supose it could change. But, I won't hold my breath.

Monday, June 11, 2012 5:48 PM

Willing to be wrong, as always - but wasn't the "waterpark will open without coasters" line frm back when the waterpark WAS opening in 2013. Now, I'd guess (emphasis on *guess*) that the whole place will open in 2014, rides and all. But that too is "as of now", and is subject to change.

Maybe I'm trying to remain optimistic? :)

Monday, June 11, 2012 8:10 PM

I believe you are correct about the time-line. That is what I stated as well. What happens between now and then is anyone's guess.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012 1:30 AM

The more the story progresses, the worse I feel for the Holiday World people working to reopen Kentucky Kingdom. I keep asking myself, "What are these people getting themselves into?" Are they really going to sign a contract to run this park for many decades? The Fair Board ran Six Flags out in a pretty dishonest and unprofessional way, so how in the world is HW going to be able to trust them? I wouldn't have touched this park with a ten-foot height stick.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012 2:12 AM

I don't know if I would blame Six Flags at all on this.

If Six Flags planned on coming back at some point in life, than yes, winterized things.

I don't know many people that leave a place they are renting and they paint the walls, put in new windows, seal everything up in plastic rap, etc. The landlord does that (all but the plastic wrap ;c) )...Much to the same I would assume that the Fair board should have done that.

I'm not sure about the whole roof things however. I can understand the pipes, and pumps what happens if it freezes, but the roofs? I keep seeing reports about roofs and leaks? They are roofs. Roofs don't get fixed every least I'm pretty sure they don't. So why so many leaks? Are trees growing through them or something? I've only seen a few parks to compare things too time line wise as to what can happen to a neglected park. But reports seem to make this sound like what Six Flags Worlds of Adventure looks like now. I know it's been closed for two years, but really?

Then again, I keep thinking what Holiday World's standards are. I know they are very high. Heck when Kentucky Kingdom was open, Holiday World might have come in there in say shut the place down...and pull up your pants ;)


Tuesday, June 12, 2012 3:04 AM

Seems like some are scrambling to save face. I have confidence in the Koch (pronounced 'Cook') family and can't wait to visit Bluegrass Boardwalk. Coasters or not...

Last edited by CoasterDemon, Tuesday, June 12, 2012 3:27 AM
Tuesday, June 12, 2012 10:52 AM

Can't say I have too much respect for any article that gets Paula's gender wrong on the first page. ;)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012 1:08 PM

I say get out while they still can and focus on buying out a park 4.5 hrs to the north. It needs the help (and is actually worth saving.)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012 4:11 PM

RushStreetFlyer said:

I say get out while they still can and focus on buying out a park 4.5 hrs to the north. It needs the help (and is actually worth saving.)


I said that when the IB conversion first took place. That would be heaven on Earth.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012 7:25 AM

A couple of things to mention:
1. Boy, this seems very similar to the issues Cedar Fair had when they first took over Geauga Lake. If you remember, the first season, many of the rides there were delayed in opening due to issues with maintenance. If I recall correctly, some parts of the original water park never did open and ended up being torn down due to their shape.

2. While there certainly is some blame on the fair board, there most likely was some clause in the lease dealing with upkeep that expected Six Flags to keep up the rides. That's normal in many industrial leases. I'm sure the bankruptcy impacted the ability to follow through with that clause, but overall, six flags had operational responsibility for the park.

Think of a similar analogy. You rent a house in upstate New York, and you decide you want to move to Florida for the winter. You could shut the heat and electricity off while in Florida to save money on heat. To do so, you drain the pipes and replace all water with antifreeze, etc. You'd be fine. But, if you simply shut off the gas and electricity to the house over the winter, you'll have problems. Most likely your landlord would then come after you in court.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012 10:08 AM

I give this "Fair" Board about as much credit as I give to the Tulsa board that drove Bell's out of business.


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