Natalie Koch speaks out about Bluegrass Boardwalk delay

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by Adam Walser

WHAS11.com

Posted on May 31, 2012 at 6:00 PM

Updated Thursday, May 31 at 6:01 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- WHAS11's Adam Walser spoke with the Koch family for the first time on Thursday after learning  the opening date for Bluegrass Boardwalk was pushed back to 2014.
 
The Kochs will be operating the park and hope to create a fun, family friendly park in Louisville like Holiday World.  They say it's just going to take them longer than originally planned.
 
Holiday World, one of America's most pristine amusement parks, has been operated by the Kochs for two-thirds of a century.
 
When Natalie Koch finally got a chance to thoroughly inspect the inside of the old Kentucky Kingdom park, where Bluegrass Boardwalk will be located, she was shocked.
 
"It was a little sad," Koch said.  "There are some things that are beyond belief, but, you know, that's easily fixed."

75 percent of rides are inoperable.  50 percent of buildings are damaged.  Landscaping is overgrown and the previous owners, Six Flags, took away seemingly anything of value.
 
Originally, the Kochs planned to open the park in May of 2013, but on Wednesday they announced the opening will be delayed until 2014.

"It has been disappointing that it's taken longer than expected, but we're still optimistic for the future," Koch said.  "I still believe that we are the people to do it. I think we have the knowledge. We have the experience."

The Kochs say some of the reason for the year-long delay in opening is due to the state not being finished with a tourism incentive study and the Metro Council's failure to vote before a deadline established in the original lease agreement.
 
Koch says that even though the family could legally walk away from the deal, that's not their intention.
 
When we asked her what rides could be expected when the park opens, she said it's too early to tell, but she hoped that information would be available in the coming months.
 
She anticipates roller coasters will eventually be some of the attractions at Bluegrass Boardwalk, but she doesn't have a timeline on those either.

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