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Wednesday, 22 July 2009 19:01

Ghost Town still honing bankruptcy comeback plan

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Ghost Town in the Sky wants more time to prepare its bankruptcy reorganization plan and is seeking an extension.

The Maggie Valley theme park filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in March in hopes of holding off bill collectors long enough to get back on its feet. Ghost Town was supposed to submit a reorganization plan in U.S Bankruptcy Court within four months, which would have been early July, but is seeking a three-month extension.

In addition to a $9.5 million mortgage, the park has a trail of unpaid bills with more than 215 companies totaling $2.5 million, from electricians and contractors to marketing agents and souvenir vendors. Those owed money get to vote on whether to accept Ghost Town’s reorganization plan.

The court has not ruled on whether to grant the extension.

Meanwhile, Alaska Pressley, a longtime Maggie Valley resident and business owner, has offered a $250,000 loan to Ghost Town to help the beleaguered theme park on its road to recovery. The loan would be used to help get the incline railway working, according to the bankruptcy filing.

The incline railway was once used to transport visitors up the mountain to the amusement park, but it has not been operational for many years. Ghost Town owners began rebuilding the incline railway when they purchased the park, but ran out of money to finish.

Pressley has been a player in the Maggie tourism industry for more than 50 years and was friends with the founder of Ghost Town, R.B. Coburn. When new owners came on the scene and reopened the park after a five-year hiatus, Pressley was quick to join their side as a stalwart supporter.

Ghost Town proposes to pay back the loan over the course of five years, with $1 per customer this year and $2 per customer for the next four years.

The arrangement would allow Pressley to sidestep others who are owed money by Ghost Town by directly tapping Ghost Town’s revenue stream. BB&T, which holds a $9.5 mortgage on the property, objected to the proposal as it would funnel profits off the park to pay back a select lender. The fate of the loan and payment arrangement will ultimately be up to the bankruptcy judge.

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