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Hart Revises Plans for Kentucky Kingdom, Still Hopes for 2012 Re-Opening

Businessman Ed Hart has put forward a third proposal for re-opening the Kentucky Kingdom theme park next year.Hart first sought to renovate and re-open the park with a $50 million bond from the state. The General Assembly didn't take up the issue. Hart then planned to use $20 million from the city this year and $30 million from the state next year to renovate the park. The city rejected that plan.Hart has now promised to increase his own investment in the park and is seeking a $17.5 million bond from the city. Mayor's spokesperson Chris Poynter says the money isn't the biggest concern for Metro Government, it's whether the state will contribute as well."The city government has no direct role in the fairgrounds or Kentucky Kingdom—it's run by the state. So when the state decided not to help put money in, it was disappointing because we thought we could have a three-legged stool financially, with the state contributing some, the city contributing some and, obviously, the private developer contributing some," he says. "It wasn't necessarily the number, it was the risk factor for the city. So we need to really look at what are the revenue streams for the city. Is this a better deal for the taxpayers? And that's what our chief financial officer and the mayor will be looking at in the next week."The revised proposal gives Metro Government more guaranteed revenue from the park. That money will also be delivered sooner than it would have under previous plans.

Gabe Bullard is the director of news and editorial strategy.