Kentucky Kingdom closes - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Kentucky Kingdom closes


Louisville Metro Mayor Jerry Abramson says the closing of Kentucky Kingdom, the state's only Six Flags theme park, is out of the city's hands.  "The bankruptcy court is where this issue is going to be resolved," Abramson said Friday.

An official with the Louisville theme park located at the Kentucky Fair and Exposition Center said the company could not reach a deal with the Kentucky State Fair Board on a new lease for the property.

About 55 employees attended a closed-door meeting Friday morning.  Fox 41 tried to speak to workers about what was discussed, but they have been instructed not to speak to the media.  Some employees may be able to relocate to other Six Flags theme parks.  And many of the rides and attractions at Kentucky Kingdom are headed to other parks, as well.

The full impact of Kentucky Kingdom's demise may not be known until this summer.  It was the largest seasonal employer of teenagers in the state, employing about one thousand every summer.

The Fair Board says Six Flags never told them about the decision and the Fair board only found out after the media received Six Flags' news release and called the Board to ask questions.

Six Flags, which owns close to twenty amusement parks in the U.S. and other countries, has been in bankruptcy protection since June, burdened by high debt and declining park attendance.

Mark Shapiro, Six Flags president and CEO, says the park closure relates solely to Kentucky Kingdom.  He says the company will relocate employees and several of more than forty rides to its thirteen other markets.

In a statement, Six Flags President and CEO said, "We are deeply disappointed to be leaving such a great fan base in the great metropolitan area of Louisville and we are grateful to the thousands of employees at Kentucky Kingdom and the millions of guests for their dedication, support, and loyalty over the years. This action relates solely to Kentucky Kingdom. The substantial lease payment has been a significant hurdle for this park in recent years. Our other park, which reside largely on company-owned land, will be completely unaffected and will open as scheduled for the full 2010 season."

The park has sent an e-mail to season pass holders, saying they can get a full refund for their passes or use them at any other Six Flags theme park in North America.

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