A company formed by the owners of the Holiday World and Splashin’ Safari theme park in Santa Claus, Ind., has signed a lease agreement with the Kentucky State Fair Board for the former Kentucky Kingdom property and hopes to have the amusement park up and running in time for the 2013 season.
Kentucky Kingdom, which sits on 57.26 acres at the Kentucky Exposition Center, was closed in 2009 in the midst of Six Flags Entertainment Corp.’s bankruptcy filing. The
Kentucky State Fair Board has been working since then to secure a new operator, with the goal of reopening the park in time for the 2013 season.
Kentucky Kingdom closed in 2009 amid owner Six Flags’ bankruptcy filing. The new owners hope to hire more than 800 workers and have the park operational again by May 2013.
Bluegrass Boardwalk Inc. was formed specifically with the purpose of negotiating an agreement for the Kentucky Kingdom property with the fair board. The company is comprised of four members of the Koch family, which has owned and operated Holiday World (originally called Santa Claus Land) since it opened in the 1940s. The partnership includes Holiday World President Dan Koch; his sister Natalie Koch; their cousin Kathy Kamp; and her husband, Michael Kamp, who is a general manager at Holiday World. Dan, Natalie and Kathy are grandchildren of Holiday World’s founder, Louis J. Koch.
Bluegrass Boardwalk plans to invest $15 million to $20 million to reopen the park in May 2013 and anticipates hiring 800 seasonal workers and 25 full-time employees.
“We’re bringing our business model of exceptional safety, cleanliness, friendliness and value for families,” said Natalie Koch. “That means free soft drinks, free sunscreen and free use of inner tubes.”