A new development has occurred in the roller coaster story surrounding the struggles for revival of the Kentucky Kingdom amusement park, now SBNO for the past two years. After numerous attempts by Ed Hart and others being brought up, the Fair Board has continually shot them down and has all but eliminated him from the picture, despite always commenting that they want nothing more than to see the park open again.
According to the Courier-Journal, it now appears that the Koch family, owners and operators of Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari, are seeking rights to operate Kentucky Kingdom. Local website InsiderLouisville.com first broke the story when the Koch’s issued a response to an inquiry by the website, and it appears they are looking to grow their business in amusement parks by looking towards Kentucky Kingdom. They also reported “the process is still in the fact-finding stage; no decisions have been made by the Kochs whether to pursue this opportunity.”
The Fair Board’s main concern remains getting $20 million from the General Assembly in 2012, despite their tight budget. Ed Hart, who owned Kentucky Kingdom for nearly a decade prior to 2000, returned after the park closed with efforts to get it operational again, and first began pursuing money from the General Assembly last year. He secured the arrangement of $20 million in bank loans from the Al J. Schneider Company, plus $3 million of his loan, he just needed $20 million from the General Assembly to get the park open. Despite his efforts, things just wouldn’t work out, and then in September, the Fair Board announced it was ending talks with Hart, essentially throwing him out of the picture.
Though they haven’t made any offers, they have confirmed that it’s a path they’ve been looking into pursuing.