From Dan Conti, Kentucky Public Radio

Kentucky State Fair Board President Harold Workman says he’s still hopeful that Kentucky Kingdom amusement park can be reopened in 2012.

Workman told a panel of state lawmakers recently that the board and Louisville Metro Government are close to finalizing an agreement to re-open Kentucky Kingdom next year. He says it will take a total investment of about $50 to bring the park back to life.

“We’re working on $23 million of local funds now that would be through bank loans and assistance from metro government to get the park open to about 80-85 percent for ’12,” he said.

Workman says he’ll ask the legislature for approximately $20 million in January. He thinks Kentucky Kingdom could draw as many as 750,000 visitors next year and provide employment for many people. The amusement park was closed in early 2010 after its previous owner, Six Flags, filed for bankruptcy.

Businessman Ed Hart has an agreement with the fair board to operate the park if funding is secured.

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