08-16-2012

Businessman proposes again to reopen Louisville amusement park

Kentucky Press News Service

Louisville businessman Ed Hart, who once before came to the aid of the Kentucky Kingdom amusement park, is trying again to reopen the closed venue.

Gov. Steve Beshear said Hart and a group of investors have made a proposal to the state fair board to reopen the park. Hart's group, according to WAVE-TV in Louisville, proposed to make a $10 million investment with an additional $30 million in a state-backed loan. But Beshear told the Louisville Courier-Journal he didn't think taxpayers wanted to back such a loan in case the park closed again. Instead, Beshear encouraged the state fair board, which owns the park property, to either figure out how to get the park reopened or find another use for the property which is adjacent to the state fairgrounds in Louisville.

Hart and a group of investors owned and operated the park from 1990 to 1997. It was sold to an amusement park company which then bought out the Fix Flags amusement park chain but then went bankrupt forcing the closure of the Louisville park.

Kentucky Kingdom closed in early 2010 despite being the city's biggest tourist attraction. Hart tried again to reopen the park only to see his deal go awry the next year, the Louisville TV station reported.

Earlier this year, owners of the Holiday World amusement park in Santa Claus, Ind., backed out of a deal to reopen Kentucky Kingdom as Bluegrass Boardwalk.