Thursday, January 24, 2013

Kentucky Kingdom's New Lease on Life

The Kentucky State Fair Board has voted to approve a 50 year lease with Kentucky Kingdom LLLP, which plans to reopen the amusement and water park for the 2014 season.

The park operators have agreed to invest an initial $45 million into the park, $25 million of which is in private funding and $20 million of which is equity funding.  The lease is contingent on the operators securing that $25 million in private funding within 90 days.

The park will have to spend at least $13 million to get the park reopened in 2014, and another $3 must be kept on had as a reserve.  Between the years 2015 and 2016, another $7 million must be spent.  After that at least $1 million a year must be spent on improving Kentucky Kingdom.

The main developer behind the new operators, Ed Hart, has already pointed out that they will probably go well above those figures to add new rides and attractions.  Key details of the new lease are outlined in this story.

The developers still intend to build two new thrill rides at Kentucky Kingdom, and double the size of the current water park.  The Greezed Lightnin' shuttle loop coaster will be removed, and Twisted Twins will not be ready for the first couple of seasons due to the drastic amount of work the pair of wooden coasters require.  A recap of the plan that Mr. Hart had submitted earlier is available here.  Of note was his plan to build a large new B&M coaster for the park's 2015 season.

This is very good news for the park, hopefully things proceed as planned from this point and the park does reopen.  We know the story so far has been full of twists and turns though, so I think we will still watch with bated breath.