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LOUISVILLE, KY. (WDRB) -- Work is already underway behind the scenes to try to get Kentucky Kingdom open, just a couple of weeks after Ed Hart was awarded the lease. Hart has already assembled a management team which is expected to take a first-hand look at the condition of the park.
Kentucky Kingdom has been abandoned for three seasons so as you might expect, the neglect and the weather have had a negative impact on many of the rides and buildings. Hart's team will try to assess what needs to be done right away to try to keep it from further deterioration.
Most of the members of the management team have experience in the amusement park industry. A spokesman for Hart says he will not have any comment this morning, but after a tour last fall he told WDRB News it will take a lot of work and a lot of money to get the park back open.
Louisville's mayor is confident the process is finally moving forward. "We are really excited about the ownership group," says Mayor Greg Fischer. "They really know how to operate amusement parks."
Hart's group has agreed to spend $45 million to reopen the park. He still has to obtain $25 million in private financing.
John Mulcahy is a member of Save My Park which lobbied state government to grant Hart a lease: "We have a lot of confidence in Ed Hart and in his team," says Mulcahy, who also worked at Kentucky Kingdom in the early 1990's when Hart operated it.
"Ed has a wonderful talent for recruiting a great group of people." adds Mulcahy. "They are not only professional, but they have a passion for not just seeing the park restored, but to become the prominent industry icon that it was."
The Fair board approved a 50-year lease with Hart a little more than a week ago. He has 90 days to secure the private funding and has applied for state tourism tax credits.
Hart has said he can open the park by spring of next year.