Kentucky Kingdom president Ed Hart has announced that he “fully expects” the standing-but-not-operating park to finally reopen on May 24, 2014, along with the addition of two new major rides and a water park two times its previous size. Hart stated “We intend to have a complete makeover of Kentucky Kingdom.”
“We are very encouraged by what we’ve seen, but obviously, there is a great deal of work to do” to get the park ready for business, said Hart to Courier-Journal. Hart’s investment group was recently granted a lease by the Kentucky State Fair Board in an attempted assist to reopen the park in 2014.
Hart, who had previously run the park for a decade up until 1997, took notice of the review of the status of the park. Currently on the property are 100 buildings, 40 rides and 60 acres of land. Hart said the preliminary review included some “surprises and setbacks” according to Courier-Journal. He said that these “small things” for the most part, and nothing that will keep him from staying true to the May, 2014 opening day.
Courier-Journal says that under the lease, Hart and his partners have agreed to invest $45 million in park improvements by 2017, which includes $20 million in partner equity and $25 million in loans. $1 million in park upgrades will also be a number in this equation.
He also stated that the Thunder Run wooden coaster may need more than $1 million worth of repairs and modifications. Nothing has been said about Twisted Twins, the parks racing coaster, which has been SBNO for two years longer than Kentucky Kingdom.
Reopening Kentucky Kingdom also means more jobs to help stimulate the economy. Hart told Courier-Journal that he plans to hire about 50 full-time park staff in the near future, with up to 1,000 seasonal employees for when the park’s operating.