Ed Hart was on Mandy Connell’s show the other day talking shop about the Kentucky Kingdom mess.
Voodoo theme park economics, indeed.
Mandy later speculated about why the Kentucky Kingdom deal went south with Ed.
So we’ll go ahead and say why: his ties to Bruce Lunsford, his opposition to Greg Fischer, et al. It’s because Ed has been on the opposite side of the Beshear/Hayes/Fischer crew. I.E., this is Democratic Party bitterness.
Be sure to go listen to the entire podcast.
Then there’s this – A Kentucky Newspaper decided to publish an op-ed written by Hart:
Having led the effort that built Kentucky Kingdom into a thriving regional attraction in the 1990s, I am dismayed by the state’s decision to downgrade the theme park to what is essentially a local water park. In doing so, the state is passing up $3.5 billion in economic benefits over the next 20 years (as confirmed by the state’s own economic impact study) and allowing millions of tourism tax dollars and many jobs to go to neighboring states.
Holiday World’s owners have no idea what their plan will cost, but have stated that not one of Kentucky Kingdom’s former eight rollercoasters would be opened or replaced and many of the park’s other major rides would be closed as well.
By contrast, Holiday World’s owners add millions of dollars worth of new rides each year to their Indiana park. So why are they proposing something so different for Louisville? Maybe it’s because they understand that reopening Kentucky Kingdom as a theme park will only jeopardize Holiday World.
The plot thickens. Holiday World is projecting 600,000 visitors at Bluegrass Boardwalk in its first year. That’s the same level of attendance that Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom drew. Can we really expect Bluegrass Boardwalk, with none of Kentucky Kingdom’s signature attractions, to draw the same attendance as a full-fledged theme park?
Here are some more equally disturbing data. The top 12 water parks in the U.S. (excluding Florida) average 450,000 visitors annually, and each of these parks has three times the number of water attractions proposed for Bluegrass Boardwalk. Is there any plausible reason why Bluegrass Boardwalk will outperform these parks?
By failing to preserve the highest and best use for Kentucky Kingdom, our state officials have failed miserably in their duty to protect the interest and property of the Commonwealth. Where is the leadership? Where is the outcry?
It’s clear the Beshear/Hayes/Fischer crew didn’t realize just how much they were biting off when they took on Ed Hart. Remember when he castrated WHAS/BELO? The same thing is about to happen with the Commonwealth of Kentucky.