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Beshear and Six Flags release statements

by Joe Arnold

WHAS11.com

Posted on February 4, 2010 at 10:16 PM

Governor Steve Beshear's office has released a brief statement about Thursday's news that Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom theme park will close.

"We just heard the news this evening ourselves, and we hope Six Flags will be able to work with the Fair Board to find a satisfactory outcome that keeps those jobs in our community."

Here's the info from Six Flags:

February 4, 2010
Kentucky Kingdom Rejects Lease
Park to Close

Six Flags announced today that as it nears the scheduled end of its restructuring process, it has decided to reject its lease with the Kentucky State Fair Board relating to the Kentucky Kingdom park. In recent weeks, Six Flags had proposed a new lease arrangement to the fair board that would have enhanced the viability and future of the park. Unfortunately, those proposals were not accepted and the park will cease operations and the company will move expeditiously to re-locate employees and several of the more than 40 rides and attractions to one of its 13 other markets.

"We are deeply disappointed to be leaving such a great fan base in the greater metropolitan area of Louisville and we are grateful to the thousands of employees at Kentucky Kingdom and the millions of guests for their dedication, support and loyalty over the years," said Mark Shapiro, Six Flags President and CEO.

"This action relates solely to Kentucky Kingdom," Shapiro continued. "The substantial lease
payment has been a significant hurdle for this park in recent years. Our other parks, which reside
largely on company-owned land, will be completely unaffected and will open as scheduled for the full 2010 season."

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Does the closing of Kentucky Kingdom mean that other Six Flags parks will be closing or sold?
Absolutely not...this is an isolated situation. The current lease was simply not sustainable in the current economic environment. The rent was way too high, making it extremely difficult for the park to achieve profitability year in and year out. Six Flags was hopeful that a deal could be reached with the State Fair Board to re-negotiate the lease price to keep the park open but the State Fair Board wouldn't budge. Therefore, we decided to reject the lease and cease operations, a right we are entitled to in our restructuring process. All of our other parks are profitable and are located largely on company-owned land, therefore the Kentucky Kingdom situation is not at all applicable.

Does this have anything to do with the restructure/bankruptcy?
As part of our restructuring process, we exercised our option to reject the current Kentucky Kingdom lease. Our goal was to renegotiate lease payment terms that would enhance the viability and future of the park. This is an isolated situation. In fact, the restructuring process will be completed in just a few short weeks. All of our other parks are profitable and will be opening for the 2010 season beginning in March and we are full steam ahead with a much improved balance sheet, after completion of the restructuring.

I have family members who bought season passes to Kentucky Kingdom. What happens now?
Costs for pre-purchased 2010 Season Passes will be 100% refunded. Notices will go out to Season
Pass holders shortly. We also invite those Season Pass holders to remain so, as their Passes will be valid at all other Six Flags Theme Parks throughout the 2010 Season. For those guests who choose to keep their Kentucky Kingdom Season Passes, we will be sending them four Bring-A-Friend Free Passes that will be valid at any of our other Six Flags parks as well.

What about employees of the park, what will happen to them?

We will be working with team members on an individual basis to assist during this transitional period. We will make every effort to relocate those team members who want to remain with the company to our 13 other markets. Kentucky Kingdom provided more teen jobs than any other business in the Louisville area.

What happens to the rides at Kentucky Kingdom?
We are still making those decisions, since we had been hopeful that we could keep the park open. We know that some of the rides and attractions will be relocated to other parks, though the final details are still being worked out.

Will prices at my local Six Flags be affected the closing of Kentucky Kingdom?
Absolutely not...Six Flags will remain an affordable family friendly entertainment option in our other locations. In fact, Season Pass pricing at many of our parks is the lowest in years. 

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