Bluegrass Boardwalk Says “We’re Not Quite Where We’d Like to Be”

by Devin Katayama on April 16, 2012

Officials with Bluegrass Boardwalk are still trying to secure business incentives to reopen the former Kentucky Kingdom amusement park next year.

The Kentucky State Fair Board approved to lease the property in February to the Koch family, which also owns Holiday World in Indiana. The new park is still expected to be open next year and will be called Bluegrass Boardwalk, keeping the same family-style values modeled at the family’s other amusement parks.

In February, co-owner Dan Koch estimated the business incentives package would be in place around April 15, and officials implied the group would submit its application in late February or early March. There have been several levels of review for the application, followed by requests for additional and updated information, said spokeswoman Paula Werne in an email.

Kentucky Tourism Arts and Heritage Cabinet spokesman Gil Lawson said an application was submitted this week and that application will likely take weeks to review and be voted on.

“I do not know how long that will take. We don’t have a scheduled board meeting yet, but we’re working on that. So as soon as we can get a board meeting together we’ll consider the application,” he said.

The state requires an applicant to meet certain goals in order to receive up to 25 percent of the investment back from the state for a ten year period beginning at the time the applicant meet the requirements, said Lawson.

“To qualify for our incentives, the tourism incentives, there’s several requirements. For example it has to have so many visitors a year from out of state. It has to have a minimum level of investment, It has to have a positive economic impact,” he said.

Bluegrass Boardwalk officials said the group is in the process of applying for state and local incentives.

“We have our financing in place,” said Werne.

The group previously said there would be up to a $20 million investment from the Kochs and private lenders. The price to open their previous parks was around $10 million, co-owner Dan Koch previously said.

Werne said Bluegrass Boardwalk is still expected to open next year.

“We’ve met on-site with a number of ride vendors and are eager to ‘push the button’ on some exciting new additions for the park,” she said.

 

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