Deadline looming to approve Kentucky Kingdom lease - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Deadline looming to approve Kentucky Kingdom lease

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- The deadline is looming for Ed Hart and Kentucky Kingdom Redevelopment Company to finalize their lease with the state to reopen the park. - The deadline is looming for Ed Hart and Kentucky Kingdom Redevelopment Company to finalize their lease with the state to reopen the park.
Rip Rippetoe Rip Rippetoe

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - The deadline is looming for Ed Hart and Kentucky Kingdom Redevelopment Company to finalize their lease with the state to reopen the park.

Earlier in the week, Hart said it would cost more than expected to fix up the park, but he wouldn't specify why or by how much.

Originally Hart said he and his company would invest $120 million, including $50 million in startup funding and $70 million over the term of the lease with the state.

April 27 is the 90-day assessment deadline to finalize the lease. For its part, the Kentucky State Fair Board said it is still paying for electricity and security at the park. It is also hiring a surveyor to assess the state of the park and the land it sits on to determine expansion opportunities.

Hart said he plans to fix up the existing structures, add four more rides and double the size of the water park.

Fair Board President Rip Rippetoe said the board has yet to meet with Hart about why he says the cost of reopening will increase. "We're actually going to be having meetings with Mr. Hart and his team soon, and we don't have what his results are and what his assessment is," Rippetoe said. "As soon as we have a chance to meet with him, we'll get a better understanding of that. I don't at this time know what that means."

What Rippetoe does believe is the park will reopen. "We're very optimistic," Rippetoe said. "Mr. Hart and his team have had a reputation of having a great park, being very family friendly, being very clean, being a good operator and this is simply doing due diligence on our part and their part. We're very optimistic this is going to open in May 2014."

Hart is expected to meet with the Kentucky Tourism Cabinet Friday in Frankfort to discuss economic incentives.

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