Wild West World, the recently opened western-themed park in suburban Wichita, Kansas, declared bankruptcy on July 9, two months after opening, and has now closed.
Since the park opened on May 5, approximately 50 of the first 60 days witnessed either rain, storms, tornados, tornado warnings or poor weather of some sort. In June and July, Kansas experienced unprecedented rain and flooding, having a devastating impact on attendance and projected revenue on a project that is believed to have gone siginicantly over budget in construction.
“The weather and lack of cash flow have made it impossible for us to keep it open,” spoke owner Thomas Etheridge in a statement July 9. “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.”
Thomas, together with his wife Cheryl Etheredge, says he believes in the need for family entertainment in the region and will continue to do everything possible to have Wild West World emerge from Chapter 11 bankruptcy through a sale of the assets. Time will be limited to find a buyer for the park, however.
Park City Mayor Dee Stuart, whose city is one of several creditors owed money, believes Wild West World is still a viable business. “If it isn’t,” she told the local press, “we’ve got one expensive parking lot.”