Friday’s revelation that Wild West World’s bankers want their money – NOW – should evoke a chuckle from anyone who’s been watching the story of the failed theme park unfold.
These small Wichita bank branches which fell all over themselves to throw seven largely oversight-free figures at park founder Thomas Etheredge now reportedly are threatening to pull the plug on an all too tentative plan to buy and revive the park.
The two-month delay boiling up in the closing of the park deal is worrisome, as are reports that the Tulsa-based buyers can’t pin down the final financing pieces for their deal. Memories are fresh of the California investors who popped up last fall and never quite pulled the trigger on the project. And the banks who got soaked by Etheredge aren’t ever going to get a big chunk of their money back, so their haste is somewhat understandable.
But let’s examine the alternatives: What value does development land have when it’s got buildings and infrastructure that will have to be removed? Some believe it will cost more than $1 million to remove the park’s hydraulics and buildings if the land is sold to a developer.
Now would be a good time for patience from the bankers who bought the Etheredge bravado hook, line and sinker. Better late than never.