A deserted amusement park is not only disheartening to the economy, but also a negative image to those with fond memories from its previous times. Luckily for Kentucky Kingdom, it has received a new lease on life – literally.
As COASTER-net reported less than two weeks ago, Bluegrass Boardwalk, Inc was the latest company to look into the abandoned former Six Flags park. Bluegrass Boardwalk is made up of the Koch family of Holiday World fame.
Well, the Kentucky State Fair Board unanimously approved a lease for Bluegrass Boardwalk, Inc on Thursday, February 24th, 2012. With the lease approved, the company must now secure financing.
According to WLKY, a Louisville news outlet, it is this step where past attempts to obtain the park have fallen short. The state is unable to provide funding and other companies haven’t been able to manage the massive undertaking.
Bluegrass Boardwalk insists it’s not interested in state money, though. Instead, the company intends to apply for state tax incentives, according to WDRB, another Louisville news outlet. This would provide the Koch family with some reimbursement for its investment as well as some tax breaks.
The Koch family is aiming to invest $15 million to $20 million initially. The park has been abandoned since 2009, and they are hoping to get work crews in as soon as this spring.
"It's like a Charlie Brown Christmas tree. All it needs is a lot of love, compassion and tenderness and we'll make it shine," Bluegrass Boardwalk President Dan Koch said, according to WHAS11. "There are pieces we can fix, or we wouldn't be doing this."
Opening the park would create 800 seasonal jobs and several full time positions. Mayor Greg Fischer told WDRB, “Our goal is to keep this open and get people employed and get our community enjoying it.”
The lease has a 50-year term with base rent starting at $400,000, and increasing every year thereafter and the Kentucky Exposition center getting small percentages after the park makes so much. Further details can be found at wave3.
And Holiday World fans need not worry – all of their favorite amenities are still going to be free.
“We’re bringing our business model of exceptional safety, cleanliness, friendliness and value for families,” Natalie Koch said in the Bluegrass Boardwalk, Inc press release. “That means free soft drinks, free sunscreen and free use of inner tubes.”
The only people more excited than fans are probably the Kochs.
“We can’t wait to get started!” Dan Koch also said in the press release. “We’ve got a lot of work to do to get the park reopened in just 15 months, but we’ll get it done.”
Bluegrass Boardwalk is set to open May 2013.