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Hard Rock Park to reopen with cheaper admission price

Hard Rock Park will reopen this summer with new owners, a move that area leaders say could boost tourism and add needed jobs.

FPI MB Entertainment bought the bankrupt theme park for $25 million in late February and plans to reopen the park by Memorial Day. The company, which wants to keep the Hard Rock theme if the cafe company agrees, plans to add rides, arrange merchandising and design new attractions and shows.

The owners also said the admission price would be more appealing than the $50 charged last summer, the park's first season.

Hard Rock Park's debut in 2008 came with great fanfare and promise, but quickly fizzled as the economy tanked, gas prices shot up to $4 a gallon and the park's marketing efforts fell short. It filed for bankruptcy in September, dashing hopes of the attraction boosting tourism. About 2,000 people worked there during the park's peak.

Leaders are again pinning their hopes on the 55-acre park's potential.

"That's got to be a shot in the arm for tourism this year, which is looking a bit bleak," Horry County Council Chairwoman Liz Gilland said after the Feb. 17 sale. "Those guys got a really good deal if they can make a go of it."

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