Major work underway at Kentucky Kingdom
LOUISVILLE, KY (WDRB) -- The heavy construction equipment has moved into Kentucky Kingdom as work to restore the shuttered amusement park has hit high gear.
Some of the old rides will be coming down to get ready for new ones to be built.
A giant crane has been brought in to dismantle the old Greased Lightning Roller Coaster that Six Flags Amusement Company first opened at Six Flags Great America in 1978, before moving it to Kentucky Kingdom in 2003.
It will take crews several weeks to tear down the old coaster piece-by-piece.
"We are taking this ride down to make way for something we will announce in a few weeks, which is our new $7 million steel coaster that will replace Greased Lightning," said John Mulcahy, the director of marketing and communications at Kentucky Kingdom.
Marcus Dorsey, a big fan of Kentucky Kingdom, didn't let the occasion pass him by without bringing his camera along to document the razing of the old coaster.
"My family used to take me to the park. I just couldn't get enough of it," Dorsey told WDRB News. "I am still interested in the park. I just wanted to see what was going on with the roller coasters and things like that."
In other parts of the park, you could find workers polishing the fiberglass on the giant ferris wheel which will be restored and repainted.
"We'll be selecting new colors and you will start to get a sense of what the new atmosphere and attitude of the park is going to be," said Mulcahy.
Last week, the wave pool in the Hurricane Water Park was filled with water for the first time in four years to make sure it did not leak.
"We are also working on the pump system that produces the waves," explained Mulcahy. "And for the most part, it got a clean bill of health. There is some minor tinkering to be done, but for the most part, we are in good shape."
When the park reopens, it's expected to provide about 1,000 part-time summer jobs for teens. Information on how to apply for those jobs will come toward the end of the year, says Mulcahy.
"In December, we will communicate through the media and through a special program with area schools and universities, and we will start the job fair process," he said.
Right now, between 40 and 50 full-time management workers like Mulcahy himself are on the payroll with more hires to come.
Developer Ed Hart and his partners have pledged to spend $ 36 million just in the first year to get the park up and running again.
Opening day is still set for May 24, 2014.
Here's a poem John Mulcahy, Director of Marketing and Communications, composed for the occasion:
ODE TO THE SHUTTLE LOOP COASTER
AKA: Greezed Lightnin' -- Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom 2003-2009
AKA: Viper -- Six Flags Over Georgia, 1995-2001
AKA: Tidal Wave -- Six Flags Great America, 1978-1991
There was a time, there was a place
When this ride's technology set the pace.
The simple drop of a forty-ton weight
Jerked riders forward -- from zero to 58.
A run of straight track vaulted rides into a loop;
Some became queasy, while others whooped.
Fans would come from near and far
For the thrill of riding in the front car.
The 70's and 80's were her prime;
She was a great coaster for her time.
Everything has a season; everything has a reason,
And today, when we must finally tell her so long,
We promise you this -- her spot won't be empty for long.
The Shuttle Loop Coaster
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