Pricey marketing campaign could help re-open Kentucky Kingdom

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by Gene Kang

WHAS11.com

Posted on January 22, 2013 at 6:59 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jan 22 at 7:01 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer is extremely optimistic about the fate of Kentucky Kingdom. The Louisville Convention & Visitors Bureau is shelling out a large amount of money to help push the deal forward.

"It has never been remotely this close," Mayor Fischer said.
 
It's been virtually a desolate wasteland since Kentucky Kingdom shut down in 2009.
 
It all comes down to a vote on Thursday with the State Fair Board on a finance package. The city put up an occupational tax credit of up to 1.25 percent. It is a rebate that could save the amusement park $1 million over the next 10 years.

Many people complain it sounds like a broken record as previous plans took a nose dive.

Tuesday's unanimous vote could help. The Louisville Convention & Visitors Bureau plans on a massive marketing campaign.

They would invest $100,000 a year from 2014-2018 to promote Kentucky Kingdom in television ads, magazines and radio.

Advertised as a brand new park to seven cities including Lexington, Cincinnati and Indianapolis.
 
"We're cautiously optimistic a deal will be reached. We've heard of other steps that are being taken right now," Jim Wood, Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau Board President/CEO said.
 
All signs point in the direction of the park re-opening, according to the Mayor.
 
"Get this deal done. We've been wanting Kentucky Kingdom to open for quite some time. The State is obviously the lead on that right now. The critical issue is the lease package between the Fair Board and the Kentucky Kingdom," Mayor Fischer said.
 
But whether it really happens depends on if developer Ed Hart and the Kentucky Kingdom Redevelopment Corporation are approved by the Fair Board on Thursday.

The State would have to agree on a tax credit incentive and private finances have to be in place.
The Governor says tax dollars will not be in the deal to reopen Kentucky Kingdom.
 
"I think we're going in the right direction. You never know when there will be a roadblock somewhere or hurdle. But what I sense is a great deal of passion for this project," Michael Howerton, Louisville Convention & Visitors Bureau Board Chair said.

Ed Hart and the Redevelopment Corporation did not comment. They are waiting until after the vote on Thursday.
 
The Metro Council will review the City's offer on tax incentives and make a decision on if they will support it. They are also waiting on results from Thursday's Fair Board vote.
 

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