Local News

Louisville developer Ed Hart says there’s no way the Kentucky Kingdom amusement park can be reopened next year, but he’s willing to extend his interim agreement with the Kentucky State Fair Board and aim for a 2013 reopening.

Hart says without a public/private funding partnership and a long-term lease in place, suppliers won’t be able to fill orders get the park’s rides up and running for 2012.

“The reality has finally struck that the deadline dates are reached. We can’t do anything about that, and reluctantly and sadly we have to say we can’t open the park in 2012, principally because we never really forged the public/private partnership we hoped to forge,” Hart told WFPL today.

Hart says he has secured $29 million in private funding to reopen Kentucky Kingdom but wants the Kentucky General Assembly to approve a $20 million bond issue to help restore it to a regional attraction.

He wants to extend his interim agreement to develop the property to give the 2012 General Assembly time to consider his funding request. If approved, the park would reopen in 2013.

Fair board president Harold Workman says the board will consider Hart’s offer.

Kentucky Kingdom was shut down early last year after its previous operator, Six Flags, filed for bankruptcy.

Rick Howlett is host of WFPL's weekly talk show, "In Conversation."