At least 50 percent of rides, buildings are in disrepair
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (June 21, 2013) — The Metro Council on Thursday night unanimously approved the creation of a development area for Kentucky Kingdom as the park’s developers move closer to a May 2014 opening date.
“All of us on the Metro Council have made the reopening Kentucky Kingdom a priority,” said Council President Jim King. “The developers have put together a plan that creates jobs and helps the city restore its tourism advantage lost when the park closed in 2009.”
With the council’s approval, a local tax increment financing area will be created inside the park. The TIF will only deal with occupational taxes rebated back to Kentucky Kingdom over a 10-year period.
“Since the park closed, its reopening has been a priority for me and this is great news for District 21,” said councilman Dan Johnson. “Kentucky Kingdom is too valuable an asset for the area to be left just sitting there. I want to thank the Council and everyone who is working to get the Park reopened.”
Ed Hart and the developers involved in the project say they are on target to have Kentucky Kingdom opened by Memorial Day Weekend of 2014. The Kentucky State Fair Board already has approved a 50-year lease for the park with options of 20 years.
With the creation of the TIF, the park has a goal of creating 60 full-time jobs and 800 part-time jobs.
“Ed Hart and his partners have worked tirelessly to re-open the park because he has operated it successfully before, and I am certain he will again,” said council member Kelly Downard.
This past week, council members learned that 50 percent of the rides and buildings at the park have fallen in to disrepairs as result of having no maintenance over the past four years.
The developers have announced $43.5 million in investments to get the park up and operating. An initial investment of $31 million will be made between now and Kentucky Kingdom’s target opening date in 2014. The remaining $12.5 million will be invested between 2014 and 2017. The developers plan to make a $2.5 million dollar annual investment after 2017.
“By approving this development plan, we have way to gauge employment,” said councilwoman Marianne Butler. “What is crucial is to get the summer jobs back that were lost when the park closed four years ago.”
Once the ordinance is signed by the mayor, state officials will then review the plan before granting additional tourism incentives.