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Arthur Levine

Holiday World Sings the Blues for KY Park

By June 22, 2012

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Years of benign neglect from Six Flags and the Kentucky State Fair Board led to the sad decline of Kentucky Kingdom. Six Flags coasted away altogether before the start of the 2010 season, and the shuttered amusement park has been in limbo ever since. A couple of false starts led to some hope that the click-clack-click sounds of coaster lift hills might once again emanate from the park. The latest revival effort, however, has stalled.

The Koch family, the folks behind Indiana's nearby Holiday World, proposed to lease the property from the fair, inject some fresh capital and ideas, and reopen the park as Bluegrass Boardwalk. Last week, however, they decided to abandon the project. According to a statement released by the Kochs, burdensome government regulations and stipulations led to their decision to walk away.

It's a shame, because Holiday World demonstrates that the Kochs are visionaries and wonderful stewards of their much-praised park. And the world -- and Kentucky in particular -- would be a richer place with one more amusement park in operation. It must be sad for people in the area to drive past the abandoned park. Here's hoping that viable revitalization plans get click-clack-clicking soon.

Photo: Bluegrass Boardwalk

Comments
June 22, 2012 at 11:55 am
(1) Kevin says:

Arthur,

It is sad that Kentucky Kingdom won’t be opening in 2013 or 2014 like we’d previously been told. It’s time for the Kentucky State Fair Board to take some time to examine its demands and regulations surrounding re-opening Kentucky Kingdom/Bluegrass Boardwalk.

Six Flags had obvious corporate issues that led to closing the park and maybe Ed Hart’s bid had its problems too, but the Koch family has a sterling reputation among those in the theme park industry and, more importantly, park guests. If the KY State Fair Board couldn’t work out a deal with the Kochs, it almost certainly wasn’t the Kochs fault and the fair board needs to admit that.

June 22, 2012 at 2:25 pm
(2) Arthur Levine says:

Thanks for your comments Kevin. Without knowing exactly what went down, it’s hard to speculate. But it would be great to see the park reopen.

-Arthur

June 22, 2012 at 8:25 pm
(3) George Benningfield says:

We just got in from a fun filled day at Holiday World! One hour and twenty minutes one way from Louisville. 6. 4 gallons of gas @ $3.50=$22.40 round trip. Spent around $120 for a family of three and the grandparents. WONDERFUL atmosphere, safe and friendly, and fun everywhere.
If the kids in the west end had a safe and nice place to visit close by like (Bluegrass Boardwalk), perhaps even to work, wouldn’t it be safe to assume that they would be less likely to kill in their life time? Louisville is a major city, and we do not have nice family orientated venue like Holiday World. A empty parking lot does not bring in revenue…ever! Perhaps our governor could help get the Louisville fair board thinking about the health of the inner city youth.

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