Local News Next Louisville Politics

The man who wants to reopen the Kentucky Kingdom amusement park says he’s close to securing nearly $29 million in private funding for the effort, but time is running out for state and local governments to finalize
their commitment.

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

Ed Hart says he needs a total of $50 million to fully redevelop and reopen the park, but without some $20 million in public funding and a lease agreement, he can’t put in an order for parts to get rides up and running.

“If our production time is pre-empted because we haven’t place our orders, all bets are off for 2012. that’s not the case now. If we things wrapped up now we can open in 2012, he said.

Hart has an interim agreement with the Kentucky State Fair Board to operate the park. It expires at the end of this month. 

He says he’s hopeful that lawmakers will approve a bond issue to help fund the re-opening.

Fair board officials were not immediately available for comment.

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