DEVELOPER: Kentucky Kingdom won't open in 2012 - WDRB 41 Louisville News

DEVELOPER: Kentucky Kingdom won't open in 2012

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- There has been another delay getting the Kentucky Kingdom Amusement Park back open.

The current developer says the park will not re-open as planned next summer. And that would be the third summer in a row that the park will remain closed after Six Flags pulled out.

"It is unfortunately no longer possible to open Kentucky Kingdom in 2012," Developer Ed Hart told the Budget and Finance Committee of the Kentucky State Fair Board on Thursday morning.

Hart says the inability of the parties involved to reach a lease agreement means the park cannot safely open in 2012. "It's those two forces that have come together," says Hart, "not finalizing the private partnership and running out of time for ride deliveries causes us to delay the project until 2013.

An interim agreement between Hart and the Fair Board expires at the end of this month. Hart says the state will then owe him more than $4 million, repayment for a loan he made to the board to purchase additional land for the park.

But Hart says he is willing to continue to try to get the park opened in 2013. "I've offered to contribute $1 million to the effort at my own risk and expense to see what the 2012 legislature does.

Hart says the Kentucky General Assembly needs to kick-in $20 million and that the city needs to contribute $300,000 a year for the park to reopen. Hart says he and other investors have raised $29 million in private funds so he says now the ball is in the hands of the public sector.

"Obviously we have some disagreement over terms at this point," acknowledges the president and CEO of the Kentucky State Fair Board, Harold Workman, "but we think they will eventually work themselves out, but I am not sure it will be done by the end  of the month."

Workman says the fair board will do what's best for taxpayers and with a 30 year lease eventually involved it is important to get it right.

He says the fair board is not looking for someone else to open the park.

Hart says the only way for the reopening of Kentucky Kingdom to be successful is for a public- private partnership. "I am frustrated obviously because we've been doing this for a year and a half," says Hart.

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