Holiday World family forms new company to explore Kentucky Kingdom options

Published: Feb. 7, 2012 at 9:16 PM EST|Updated: Feb. 8, 2012 at 3:19 AM EST
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LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - The family that owns and operates Holiday World in Santa Claus, Indiana continues to explore re-opening Kentucky Kingdom in 2013.  That news surfaced in January, but on Tuesday, the family took things a step further.

As WAVE 3 was first to report Tuesday, spokesperson Paula Werne says four members of the Koch family formed a new company, Bluegrass Boardwalk, to negotiate a lease agreement with the Kentucky State Fair Board and to apply for economic development incentives from the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

Werne says no public money would be requested from the Kentucky Legislature by Bluegrass Boardwalk.

Holiday World president Dan Koch, his sister Natalie Koch, their cousin Kathy Kamp and her husband Michael Kamp, who is a general manager at Holiday World, are the four members that make up the new company.

It's news that Metro Council is happy to hear.

"We just thought it was rusting away and wasn't going to be used again," said Council member Dan Johnson.

He hopes things get on track to open the park by the summer of 2013.

"It's the number one job creator for young people in our community and it really needs to be back in business," Johnson said.

But just what kind of business the park would do remains to be seen.  Former developer Ed Hart made bold promises just a few months ago when he was pleading for funds from the city and state for nearly $20 million.

"A reopened Kentucky Kingdom would generate up to $11 million per year in new revenue," Hart said last fall.

But he could never shore up a deal, and the fair board looked elsewhere.  In their deal, the Koch family said they would need no public money.

There is no timeline on the deal, as it is still in the early negotiation stages.  No one from Holiday World or the Koch family would comment Tuesday.

"The Kentucky State Fair Board's top priority is to open the amusement and water park by 2013.  The Koch family is exploring the opportunity to serve as the park operator, and the fair board is working to providing information needed in that process," Harold Workman, President and CEO of the Kentucky State Fair Board said in a statement.

Copyright 2012 WAVE News. All rights reserved.