Bureaucratic delays may postpone opening of Bluegrass Boardwalk


by Adam Walser


Posted on May 25, 2012 at 5:56 PM

Updated Friday, May 25 at 8:00 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- Bluegrass Boardwalk was set to open next May, with the owners of Holiday World as the new operators, but now that date may have to be pushed back.

The delays are described as a normal part of putting this type of complicated project together, and mostly involve paperwork that hasn't been completed.

Fair officials believe the project is moving forward as planned, but Holiday World is not so sure the park will open when it was originally scheduled.

Holiday World is waiting to turn an overgrown, deteriorating, abandoned amusement park into a top state attraction, but the state of Kentucky has put the owners on hold.

The Koch family announced three months ago they intended to build the new park at the site of the former Kentucky Kingdom site.

But now, at a time when owners expected boots to be on the ground and work to be underway, they say the Commonwealth of Kentucky is standing in the way.

Yesterday, the new owners received an extension of an “opt-out agreement”, after the state was unable to deliver the new owners a signed lease.

“Instead of saying June 1st is the cutoff date, August 16th is gonna be that date. And we fully anticipate for everything to be wrapped up by mid June,” said Kentucky State Fair Board Spokesperson Amanda Storment, who said there’s no reason to be concerned the project won’t happen.

WHAS 11 News went to the park last week with the Kochs, who now say the clock is ticking and every beautiful day is a day they're not  working.

They don't have a signed lease, because the state tourism development authority hasn't completed a required study on time.

And the Louisville Metro Council hasn't given final passage to local economic incentives.

That prevents the new owners from determining what rides and amusements can be repaired and how long those renovations will take.

Holiday World officials say that could delay the opening by up to a year.

“They know what they are doing. They are pros at this," said Storment.  "They understand the amusement park business and what it takes, so I think it's maybe a matter of caution. We just really need to move forward on this.”

Holiday World officials didn't want to do an on camera interview today, but they have created a blog about the Bluegrass Boardwalk project.