Ed Hart signs lease to reopen Kentucky Kingdom again
LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - A painted operating fountain with a giant new sign above is the most activity Kentucky Kingdom has seen since Six Flags left the park in 2010.
For the third time since then, the park has a new operator, Louisville businessman Ed Hart. "The deal is done all the paperwork has been signed."
Hart said that fancy looking fountain is the first example of what the rest of Kentucky Kingdom will look like when he reopens it on May 24, 2014. "We're excited. We know we can get it done. We just can't wait for 2014."
Of course Hart said similar things back in September 2010 when he planned to open the park then. "Our plan calls for an obligation on our part to invest millions of money every year to grow the park," he told the media on that day. He and the Kentucky State Fair Board couldn't come to an agreement on a lease.
The owners of Holiday World made similar promises when they tried to sign a lease in February 2012 to open the park as Bluegrass Boardwalk. "We're going to make this park shine," said Dan Koch after attempting to get a lease for the park. That deal fell through a few months later.
When asked if there is anyway this current deal could fall through, Hart replied, "No. No way. The park will open."
There are people counting depending on it. The owner of the Crowne Plaza just across the street said they've seen a drop in business in the summer months since the park closed. They signed on to the lease to be the official hotel of the new Kentucky Kingdom and know they aren't the only ones who hope to benefit. "I think the Kingdom is very important for Louisville and the state. Also, for the surrounding hotels that are out of this area. There's really nothing else besides convention work that the hotels themselves bring in," said Al J. Schneider Company President Mary Moseley.
At this point, Hart said it's just a matter of fixing up the buildings and the rides which have sat unused which he promises are not unsafe. "There's a difference between deterioration and safety. Our rides are all safe. They just have to be maintained."
Hart said his crew started that maintenance three months ago.
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