Following nine months of planning to reopen the shuttered amusement park in Louisville, Kentucky, Bluegrass Boardwalk Inc – the company lead by the Koch family from Holiday World – has withdrawn from the project.
“We entered into this discussion last October with full expectation of leasing the park,” says Bluegrass Boardwalk CEO Natalie Koch. “However, we have come to the realisation that leasing a park rather than owning it would take us too far from the business model my family has followed for more than 60 years.”
Koch says she and her partners were financially prepared to meet the challenge of reopening the abandoned park, formerly known as Kentucky Kingdom, however the many layers of governmental regulations and stipulations ultimately caused them to withdraw. She adds that her family believe reopening the Louisville park, last operated by Six Flags, is still a worthwhile project and they wish any future operator well.
“It’s been a lifelong dream for my family to operate a second park,” says Koch, whose family’s amusement park and waterpark in the neighbouring state of Indiana now entertains around 1.4 million guests a year. “It’s hard to walk away from what we believed was a winning partnership for Kentucky and our team. But at the end of the day, the terms of the project did not fit our model. It was time to withdraw.”
A letter terminating the proposed lease agreement was delivered to the Kentucky State Fair Board, owners of the site, on June 15.