July 10, 2007
Park City, KS -- Kansas' first theme park Wild West World closed Monday and will remain so indefinitely. The sudden closure of the $30 million family theme park comes just two months after the park celebrated its grand opening.
Thomas Etheridge, CEO of Wild West World, LLC released a statement Monday saying the park is being forced to close due to lack of cash flow from bad weather and resulting poor attendance.
Etheridge said, that he has started to look for a buyer to purchase the theme park.
Wild West World debuted to the media on May 1 under rainy skies. Four days later, the park held its grand opening to the public on May 5, another rainy day and the day after a tornado destroyed Greensburg.
"On grand opening day, the community wasn't in a theme park mood," said Etheridge. "The entire state was in shock as a result of the catastrophic Greensburg tornado the night before that wiped a nearby community literally off the map,"
"And as we all know the rain continued in May and June."
According to Etheridge, Wild West World experienced 50 days of rain, storms and overcast skies between May 1 and its last day of operation Sunday.
"We built the park as we said, but the weather and lack of cash flow have made it impossible for us to keep it open," added Etheridge.
"It pains us to reach this point, but we have to close the park and find a buyer who can reopen and run it. We hate to do it, but we don't see any other alternative."
On Monday, attorneys representing Wild West World, LLC filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. According to the bankruptcy filing the park owes approximately $24 million.
The filing showed debts of $14.96 million to secured creditors for property, equipment and vehicles. Another $801,000 for unpaid federal, state and local taxes and $8.16 million owed to other unsecured creditors.
Extremely poor attendance and lack of cash flow caused by the continual rain and storms, and unanticipated cost overruns in constructing the theme park were cited as reasons for the bankruptcy.
Etheridge hopes to find a buyer to purchase and reopen the park as soon as possible. However without a buyer, Wild West World will likely not reopen.
"There is a buyer somewhere," said Etheridge.
The timeframe to find a buyer for Wild West World is tight. If a buyer cannot be found quickly the ride manufacturers may seize the rides.
Wild West World was expected to attract about half a million visitors in its first year.
What did you think? Be the first to Add Your Comments