Bluegrass Boardwalk CEO talks about decision to not re-open Kentucky Kingdom

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by Karma Dickerson

WHAS11.com

Posted on June 16, 2012 at 7:54 PM

Updated Saturday, Jun 16 at 8:01 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- The CEO of what was to become Bluegrass Boardwalk is speaking about the decision not to re-open Kentucky Kingdom.  Natalie Koch says her family's way of doing things, and the state's bureaucracy are just not compatible.

Natalie Koch, Director of Holiday World greeted park goers as she always does, but Saturday her sunny smile concealed a heavy heart.

Natalie's worked in just about every area of her family's amusement parks. 

But as the CEO of the planned new park, Bluegrass Boardwalk was her baby and the fulfillment of her family's dream to open a second park.  A dream that just three days ago, her cousin said was well on the way to becoming reality.

 “Right now there are no major obstacles we can foresee”, Mike Kamp, General Manager of Holiday World, said Wednesday.

But at a meeting Friday Natalie says she and three other board members decided that there was too much uncertainty surrounding re-opening Kentucky Kingdom.  The Koch family owns Holiday World, but they would have been leasing Bluegrass Boardwalk; therefore, subject to more oversight from the state.

She praised the state and metro governments acknowledging that they'd given the Kochs everything they'd asked for, including nearly $4 million in tax breaks.   But the Kochs felt the process of getting the financial incentives and getting onto the old Kentucky Kingdom property was slower than they're used to as independent operators.

“The longer it took, the more concerned we got that this might be an indication of what's going on in the future”, Natalie said.

So at least for now, Kentucky Kingdom remains desolate and deteriorating anxiously awaiting the next effort to make it an asset to Kentuckiana.





 

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