Gov. Beshear endorses proposed deal to reopen Kentucky Kingdom - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Gov. Beshear endorses proposed deal to reopen Kentucky Kingdom

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- (WDRB) Gov. Steve Beshear is recommending that the State Fair Board accept a proposed deal that would reopen Kentucky Kingdom.

The state has been negotiating a lease with a group led by developer Ed Hart since October, and those negotiations have resulted in a deal that the governor says he supports.

The Fair Board will vote on the proposed lease tomorrow, and Gov. Beshear made it clear that a deal to reopen KY Kingdom is all but done.  "We've got a lease now that I think is a good lease for everybody, and we'll be asking the State Fair Board to approve that tomorrow," said Beshear.

It's a deal that Beshear said meets his requirement that the state not be on the hook for financing.  "I felt like I needed to protect the taxpayers in that way and this lease meets those requirements," he said.

But Beshear would not go into detail about what incentives the state may be offering in the deal, saying the provisions of the lease would be made public tomorrow.

A proposal by a development group led by former Kentucky Kingdom owner Ed Hart is believed to be the only one on the table. Hart has said he plans to invest $120 million into the abandoned park.

"Assuming that the group can get their private financing, the state is ready to go," Beshear said. "And I think the Fair Board is ready to go. So, after tomorrow when that lease is approved, we're ready and waiting."

Assuming that Hart already has the financing in place, the lease approval will be the final piece of the puzzle.

"Once this lease is approved, once they know what the city and the Convention Bureau is going to do in terms of being participant, then I think their financing folks will have the whole package to be able to take a look at and pull the trigger on," said the governor.

Kentucky Kingdom has been closed since Six Flags pulled out in 2009.

Beshear said he hopes, if all goes according to plan, the park will reopen in 2014.

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