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Fair Board President aims to reopen Kentucky Kingdom in 2011

by Joe Arnold


Posted on May 6, 2010 at 4:26 PM

Updated Thursday, May 6 at 5:13 PM

Louisville, Ky. (WHAS11) - After Six Flags announced it was closing Kentucky Kingdom in January, the amusement park will not reopen by this summer.

"I would think it would be very unlikely," Kentucky State Fair Board President Harold Workman told a Metro Council committee Thursday, "We do anticipate it would be open in 2011," Workman said.

"I am disappointed of course," said Councilwoman  Vickie Aubrey Welch, "We need the jobs. We need the pool."

Workman agrees that it is critical to reopen Kentucky Kingdom.  Even with several operators poised to make offers, perhaps within months, that will not allow enough time to get the park refurbished and equipment, Workman said.

"I was hoping they could at least just open the water park," Welch said after the session with Workman.  Yet, Workman says the property cannot be portioned out.  Despite Six Flags bankruptcy, he says Kentucky Kingdom can succeed with a more viable operator.

"The population base is here to support a park and it's proven that they will support a park because in its heyday when it was at its top, it was about 1.2 million.  It's continued to decline," Workman said.

In the last year, Kentucky Kingdom drew about half that number, between 500,000 and 600,000 people.  Workman echoed what former Kentucky Kingdom owner Ed Hart told WHAS11 News today, that Six Flags did not sustain a sufficient investment in the park.   Workman  wants to make sure the next operator will keep that commitment.

"Number one is, you want to make sure you have a top flight operator that has the financial resources to support the operation," Workman explained in an interview, "because its going to take.... not that they want to spend millions of dollars, but they're going to have to."