Kentucky Kingdom operator: Surprises & setbacks in week one - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Kentucky Kingdom operator: Surprises & setbacks in week one at the park

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Ed Hart Ed Hart
Rob House Rob House

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - One week on the job and Kentucky Kingdom's new operator says there's life left in the old park. Ed Hart said there have been some pleasant surprises and some setbacks, but the park is on track to open next year.

"We intend to make a complete makeover of Kentucky Kingdom," said Hart.

Hart and his new management team faced the media Tuesday, one week after moving in. Hart said it's been a week full of work, checking under the hood and kicking the tires on the park.

"There's been a great deal of additional deterioration," said Hart, "but once again, we factored that into our budget."

Right now, the total cost of renovation remains unclear.

"The wooden coaster is a perfect example, Thunder Run," said Hart. "Thunder Run could go anywhere from $150,000 to a million dollars worth of repairs."

According to Hart there's not one big issue that stands out, but with 100 buildings, 40 rides and 60 acres of land there are problems.

"It's all little small things here and there," Hart said of the problems. "You know, you can die a death of a thousand cuts."

Problems aside, Hart said the park still should reopen on schedule - May 2014. That's a great relief to Rob House who can't wait to see Kentucky Kingdom return to its glory days.

"Absolutely and I know it will be," House said. 

Where you see rotting wood and rusted metal, House sees history.

"A lot of memories for me," House said. "A lot of the alumni have deep roots with this park. We've watched it from the ground up.

One of Kentucky Kingdom's large group of alumni, House said many have gone on to do great things.

"Some folks have gone off to Hollywood," House said. "You've got Nicole Scherzinger, former Pussy Cat doll and now pretty famous around the world. We've got some folks that have gone into theater, performing arts, Broadway."

That is why House and others with Save My Park couldn't imagine losing Kentucky Kingdom. Hart said that won't happen.

Hart has 90 days to make sure the park is in a condition that he can rehab and make work before finalizing his lease with the state. He says his financing plan will be finalized in this 90-day time frame as well.

Hart promises to reopen the park in 2014 with a water park that's double the current size and some new rides although he won't say what those are right now.

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