This morning, Ed Hart posted online his entire RFP application submitted to the state last Friday for everyone to see.
His plan tweaked his August one in two ways. First of all, his initial private investment was increased to $50 million, with a whopping $70 million in additional re-investments promised over the next 30 years. Additionally, Kentucky Kingdom Redevelopment Company expects the park to bring $521 million in net new economic benefits for the state and $35 million in net new fiscal benefits for Metro Louisville over the 30-year period.
The second alteration of the plan involves what Gov. Steve Beshear was complaining about when he first panned Hart’s proposal in August, which asked for the state to guarantee KKRC’s $30 million bank loan in case of default. This detail is no longer part of Hart’s plan. KKRC is asking that the $30-million bank loan be collateralized by the land, equipment, and improvements owned by the state, which the state’s RFP explicitly said was allowable under KRS 56.515.
So Beshear’s “dealbreaker” is gone.
But does this mean that the Beshear administration will now support KKRC and Hart reopening the park? Possibly, but if you know the 3-year history of Hart’s interaction with the state, maybe you shouldn’t hold your breath.
Let the secret deliberations in the Finance and Administration Cabinet determining Kentucky Kingdom’s future commence…
***** UPDATE *****
Told you not to hold your breath. According to WHAS, “sources familiar with the review of the Kentucky Kingdom Redevelopment Company proposal” — how is that for overly vague sourcing — say that it is “doubtful” that the Beshear administration will accept it. Why not?
Sources familiar with the review of the Kentucky Kingdom Redevelopment Company proposal describe three main concerns:
1. By using Kentucky Kingdom rides as collateral for a private loan, the state would still be creating a debt.
2. Concerns about the timing of the park reopening
3. Concerns that the proposal would jeopardize possible future uses of the Kentucky Kingdom property.
As for issue No. 1, check out this section of the state’s RFP which explicitly states that this is acceptable:
4. KRS 56.515: If a financing plan is involved in point #2 above, indicate whether the Respondent desires the Commonwealth to consider the utilization of KRS 56.515. Said statute allows the private investor to place a mortgage on the Commonwealth’s property as security for the repayment of any private loans taken out by the Respondent for the purpose of improving the property for the patrons of the park and the Commonwealth;
I guess the state just put that in there for the hell of it?
And concerns about the timing of the park? Well, maybe the state wants to push it’s opening back another three years. Go figure.
As for No. 3…. what in God’s name is this? The state is concerned that a response to the state request for proposal to open the park might jeopardize… a non-park use for the land?
If WHAS’s source is anyone even remotely close to the governor, you can be assured that they have already decided what they are going to use the land for, and this entire RFP process to find a park operator is just a giant ruse to fool the public.