- Associated Press - Friday, May 23, 2014

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - After being closed for five years, Kentucky Kingdom will reopen Saturday to the public.

The amusement park in Louisville last operated in 2009 when Six Flags decided to shut it down. A group headed by businessman Ed Hart has been working for nearly a year to fix it up.

Park spokesman John Mulcahy says the restored park will give the community “a new place to play.”

Media report that the park has 20 new rides including a roller coaster called Lightning Run, an attraction called Fear Fall that drops riders 13 stories and an expanded water park.

Hart’s business group spent more than $44 million on restorations efforts since taking on the project after several other proposals to reopen the park fell through.

“Kentucky Kingdom will have a big impact on our city, from both a tourism and jobs perspective,” said Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer. “The park was one of our top tourist attractions in the past, and we know it will be again. … Its re-opening adds to our significant momentum and will be a strong new draw for regional visitors.”

A consultant hired by the state Tourism Department said the park had the potential to provide an economic boost of $3 billion to the local community over the next two decades.

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