Kentucky Kingdom, State Fair Board battle over expansion

Kentucky Kingdom, State Fair Board battle over expansion
Kentucky Kingdom and Hurricane Bay are located on the grounds of the Kentucky Exposition Center.

LOUISVILLE,KY (WAVE) - Kentucky Kingdom wants to build a new family friendly wooden roller coaster. However, it needs one more acre and the Kentucky State Fair Board's approval.

Kentucky Kingdom CEO and President Ed Hart said he wants love and not war when it comes to building the new roller coaster. However, he doesn't understand where the resistance is coming from.

Ed Hart said he's sick and tired of the Kingdom and its customers being treated like second class citizens.
Ed Hart said he's sick and tired of the Kingdom and its customers being treated like second class citizens. (Source: Justin Hawkins, WAVE 3 News)

Hart said he wants to use the one acre promised to him to expand the park, but the State Fair Board won't agree to the transfer. In addition, Hart said the fair board also violates its yearly $1 million leasing agreement by charging Kentucky Kingdom customers $10 to park. Kentucky Kingdom filed a lawsuit against the board three months ago.

The following map supplied by Kentucky Kingdom shows the planned expansion area for park.
The following map supplied by Kentucky Kingdom shows the planned expansion area for park. (Source: Kentucky Kingdom)

"We've tried in good faith over the last four years to solve these disputes," Hart said. "But the fair board has had five fair board presidents in the last five years. Every time we think we've made progress the can is kicked down the road. This year it got worse."

Hart, who planned on making a more than $700,000 payment on the ride yesterday, said the board has delayed multiple approvals and prevented them from taking the necessary steps to install the coaster.

A spokesman for Kentucky Venues said they are "stewards of the Commonwealth's assets" and are looking forward to working with Kentucky Kingdom.
A spokesman for Kentucky Venues said they are "stewards of the Commonwealth's assets" and are looking forward to working with Kentucky Kingdom. (Source: Justin Hawkins, WAVE 3 News)

In a statement to WAVE 3 News, Cody Patterson, Director of Communications for Kentucky Venues, said, “In our partnership with Kentucky Kingdom we have demonstrated a consistent desire to see their business succeed. There should be no surprises here as our lease with them has mutually agreed upon protocol for an orderly expansion, which is still in process and involves several landlord parties. We seek to be responsible stewards of the Commonwealth’s assets and look forward to working with Kentucky Kingdom as that process continues.”

Hart said he's sick and tired of the Kingdom and its customers being treated like second class citizens and he refuses to be intimidated.

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