Changes made to budget to get Kentucky Kingdom open on time

Published: Apr. 11, 2013 at 6:42 PM EDT|Updated: May. 26, 2013 at 9:22 PM EDT
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The main entrance of Kentucky Kingdom.
The main entrance of Kentucky Kingdom.
Ed Hart
Ed Hart

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - The money is in place to get Kentucky Kingdom reopen, according to the Louisville businessman who wants to be the new operator.

Wednesday, the Kentucky Tourism Development Finance Authority approved $10 million in tax incentives for Ed Hart and Kentucky Kingdom LLP. Thursday, Hart said despite reports that it will cost more money to open the park, that is not the case.

Hart said he and his business partners have finalized a budget and have a new plan to restart Kentucky Kingdom with the original $40 million investment. He said they'll be paying more out of pocket.

"My partners and I are going to have to put in more money than we anticipated because we're going to be borrowing less money from the bank," said Hart, who also said that change will expedite the process.

"Spring is in the air," Hart said. "Aren't you ready to go to an amusement park?"

Hart couldn't appear more excited to be in the process of reopening Kentucky Kingdom, but for at least another year, you'll have to attend a park outside of Louisville.

Hart said after being approved for the tax incentives by the state, everything is on track to make him the new operator.

"The tourism tax credits were a very, very important part of our financial plan, so we're happy to see that piece is completed," said Hart.

The incentives will be paid out over ten years and are based on performance. Hart is adamant that when the park is running again it will go over as well as when he operated it in the early 1990s.

"We ran a very successful facility," Hart said. "We built over 1.3 million in attendance, bringing hundreds of thousands of people, visitors, in for overnight stays."

Hart said they're already hiring contractors to get inside and get to work. The deadline to finalize the lease is April 27.

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