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Amusement Park

Koch family takes over
former Kentucky Kingdom

Holiday World owners to renovate,
re-open park in 2013

Staff Report

LOUISVILLE, KY. (March 2012) – The Kentucky State Fair Board on Feb. 23 unanimously approved a lease agreement with Bluegrass Boardwalk Inc. to re-open Kentucky Kingdom amusement park in 2013. Bluegrass Boardwalk Inc. is comprised of members of the Koch family that owns Holiday World in Santa Claus, Ind.
The 57.26-acre amusement park located at the Kentucky Exposition Center was closed in 2009 when it was abandoned by Six Flags amid bankruptcy filing. 
The top priority of the fair board has been to secure an operator in order to have the park opened in time for the 2013 season. 
“We look forward to working with the Koch family and are very pleased that they have taken this first and very important step to operate the amusement park,” said Harold Workman, President & CEO of the Kentucky State Fair Board.  “This is very good news for this community in terms of an entertainment destination and summer jobs for young people.”
Bluegrass Boardwalk Inc. was formed to negotiate the lease with the fair board.  Terms of the 50-year lease include a base rent of $400,000 beginning in 2013 with escalated amounts until 2016 when the base rent becomes $1 million annually. Parking revenue will be an equitable fee sharing arrangement determined after the first year of operation.
Bluegrass Boardwalk plans are to invest $15 million to $20 million to re-open the park in May 2013, with continued investment in future years. Bluegrass Boardwalk plans to hire 25 full time and 800 seasonal employees in 2013.
“We can’t wait to get started,” said Bluegrass Boardwalk’s Dan Koch, who is also Holiday World’s president. “We’ve got a lot of work to do to get the park re-opened in just 15 months, but we’ll get it done. We’d like to thank the Fair Board for putting their faith in us and the community at large for their tremendous cheers of support.”
The next steps are to secure financing and continue the application process for economic development incentives from Kentucky’s Tourism Cabinet. The group will not request any monetary help from the Kentucky legislature.
It’s been a little more than two years since customers walked through the gates of the amusement park. It closed in October 2009.
The Kochs already own and operate Holiday World and Splashin’ Safari in Santa Claus, Ind. The Kochs have also indicated they may rename the attraction Bluegrass Boardwalk. The park will offer free soft drinks and sunscreen, like the Santa Claus park.

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