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Holiday World Looking To Purchase Kentucky Kingdom

Last updated on Friday, February 10, 2012

(UNDATED) - Members of the ownership group of Holiday World and Splashin’ Safari in Santa Claus, Ind., have formed a new company to attempt to negotiate a lease agreement to operate the closed Kentucky Kingdom amusement park at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville.

Members of the Koch family said Tuesday that they continue to explore efforts to reopen Kentucky Kingdom in 2013. They said four family members have formed Bluegrass Boardwalk Inc. to negotiate a lease agreement with the Kentucky State Fair Board, secure financing and apply for economic development incentives from the commonwealth of Kentucky.

The incentives would probably be in the form of forgiveness of a share of the sales taxes the park would otherwise pay. The Kochs said no public monies will be requested from the Kentucky legislature.

The Fair Board requested $20 million from the 2012 General Assembly to upgrade Kentucky Kingdom. But Gov. Steve Beshear did not include any funding for such improvements in his budget, and legislators have not indicated willingness to fund the park.

Fair Board spokeswoman Amanda Storment said Tuesday that the Kochs continue to work with the fair officials to try to reopen Kentucky Kingdom.

Family members involved in the discussions are Dan Koch, Holiday World president; his sister, Natalie Koch; their cousin, Kathy Kamp; and her husband, Michael Kamp, general manager at Holiday World. Dan and Natalie Koch and Kathy Kamp are grandchildren of Holiday World's founder, Louis J. Koch, who opened the park (originally called Santa Claus Land) in 1946.

Kentucky Kingdom last operated in 2009, after which then-owner Six Flags abandoned the park in early 2010 amid bankruptcy proceedings.

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