The owner of Wild Adventures, a Georgia-based theme park, is poised to take over Florida's Cypress Gardens. The attraction known for its water ski shows and Southern belles closed its doors earlier this year because of declining attendance.
Under the arrangement, Kent Buescher, owner of Wild Adventures
of Valdosta, will pay seven (m) million dollars for 120 acres of the 67-year-old Cypress Gardens, one of Florida's oldest tourist attractions. Polk County and the City of Winter Haven would pay two and a half (m) million for the remaining 30 acres, including the historical botanical garden. The State of Florida would pay eleven (m) million for development rights to all 150 acres.
Buescher will manage the park.
The deal is being arranged by the Trust for Public Land, a nonprofit land conservation firm that entered into a 22 (m) million dollar agreement with owners First Gardens L-L-C in September to purchase Cypress Gardens. The Trust for Public Land must have all the pieces of the deal in place, including approval by Governor Jeb Bush and the Florida Cabinet and approval by Polk County and Winter Haven officials, by the end of January when it has to exercise its option.