Cypress Gardens delays reopening until Oct. 1

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. -- Cypress Gardens postponed its reopening until Oct. 1 because of unforeseen difficulties in refurbishing the grounds, a spokeswoman for the attraction said.

The new owner, Kent Buescher, who purchased the property in January, had targeted Memorial Day weekend for opening.

"There is really no change from the plans we released," said the spokeswoman. "The difference is when we were digging down to put in the foundations for the rides, we were finding things underground that were not shown on any maps."

Also, the buildings are in worse shape than previously believed, she said. "About every building needed a roof. Many are having to be completely restructured. Some are being torn down and rebuilt."

Contributing to the delay is a spike in demand for concrete because of rising exports to China, India and Iraq.

The park closed in April 2003 after 67 years of operation.

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