Famed Theme Park Files for Bankruptcy Protection

Cypress Gardens
WINTER HAVEN -

It has served up daily portions of Southern Belles and water skiers for seventy years. But Cypress Gardens was battered by three hurricanes in two thousand four - including a hard swipe by Hurricane Charley just before it was scheduled to reopen.

And even though nearly a million-and-a-half people walked through its gates last year, Cypress Gardens was never able to recover from those initial blows. Now, its owners are filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

Bob Gernert, head of the Winter Haven Chamber of Commerce, has been in contact with park owner Kent Buescher.

GERNERT: There will be no layoffs, and according to Mr. Buescher, it's going to be business as usual. He feels that a guest experience at the park will be as good or better than it has been, because so much of his attention has been diverted to trying to deal with these economic shortfalls.

Gernert says the problems stem from a dispute over reaching a settlement with the park's insurance carrier.

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