Ed Hart begins 90-day Kentucky Kingdom assessment

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WHAS11.com

Posted on February 12, 2013 at 2:16 PM

Updated Tuesday, Feb 12 at 2:20 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- This is the first week of a 90-day assessment of Kentucky Kingdom for developer Ed Hart and his team. Hart says they will also be wrapping up the finances within the 90-day period for the park, which has an anticipated opening day of May 2014.

“We are very encouraged by what we have seen in the park,” said Hart. “But, obviously there is still a great deal of work to do.”

More than 100 buildings, about 40 rides and 60 acres all need a complete makeover to get Kentucky Kingdom open, according to Hart.

“There has been a great deal of deterioration,” said Hart. “But we factored that into our budget. We have a pretty large contingency in our budget for redevelopment. We hope not to spend that, it is there to spend if necessary.”

There is an initial investment of $45 million. Hart and his management team are going forward with the project that many do not want to touch.

“We are not at all intimidated by the prospect of bringing back a theme park that has been in tough times because I have done it twice before, “said Hart.

In 1992, Hart turned around Kentucky Kingdom after it went bankrupt in 1987. He also reopened a park in Arkansas after it closed as well. Hart says this current project is much more manageable than the previous two projects.

“This is much easier, although more expensive, assignment because all the large infrastructure is in place,” said Hart.  “The one in Arkansas was completely vandalized. We did that in seven months. The original Kentucky Kingdom was very small. It was only 13 acres. “
 

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