Injured Ghost Town gunfighter gets hope in worker’s comp claim

A Ghost Town in the Sky gunfighter wounded during a staged fight has new hope of being compensated for his injury after all, despite initially being told he wouldn’t.

Ghost Town gunslinger wounded during staged fight

fr ghosttownState officials are investigating Ghost Town in the Sky amusement park after a piece of shrapnel maimed a longtime, well-known Wild West gunfighter during one of the park’s staged gunfights. 

Ghost Town opening delayed again: Park hammering out ride inspection glitches

After two false starts, Ghost Town in the Sky theme park in Maggie Valley remains closed this week.

Ghost Town falls short of summer opening target

Ghost Town in the Sky did not open to much fanfare last weekend because, simply put, it didn’t open.

Beloved amusement park brought back to life one piece at a time

fr ghosttownGhost Town in the Sky amusement park is scheduled to kick off its 2013 season Memorial Day weekend, thanks to the grit, passionate and determination of its new owner and longtime champion Alaska Pressley, who has slogged ahead with her dream despite hoops and hurdles.

Maggie seeks input from business owners on town’s future

A Thursday meeting with Maggie Valley business owners and area leaders will serve as the first test to see if the valley can successfully come together for the town’s common good.

Maggie debates whether to put its eggs in Ghost Town’s basket

fr ghosttownAs Maggie Valley business owners and leaders look toward the town’s future, it is unclear how large a role town leaders realistically expect the amusement park Ghost Town in the Sky to play.

Ghost Town pledges to reopen rides and attractions

Maggie cheered when Ghost Town in the Sky reopened this summer, but with only a small portion of the rides and attractions up and running, the real potential of the amusement park to lure hordes of tourists back to the struggling town hasn’t been realized overnight.

After rescuing the shuttered park from foreclosure earlier this year, Ghost Town’s new owner Alaska Presley has been slowly whittling away at a laundry list of projects she hopes to complete before it closes down for the winter and reopens next spring.

Ghost Town’s limited opening offers a taste of historic amusement park’s new era

fr ghosttownGhost Town in the Sky opened last Wednesday — sort of.

The once-popular amusement park in Maggie Valley opened its chairlift and a new zipline just in time for the July 4 holiday and is offering rides on both attractions.

Maggie Valley wants to know: what should its future hold?

Business owners needs to put aside their bickering and resentments for the good of Maggie Valley, Mayor Ron DeSimone emphasized last week.

“This community has been divided for a long time,” DeSimone said at a Maggie Chamber of Commerce meeting last Tuesday. “We need a united voice. We need to come together.”

A builder and architect by trade, DeSimone likes to have a plan, but he said he needs help to make a comprehensive business plan for Maggie Valley.

“I’ve created a business plan for my business but not for a whole valley,” DeSimone said. “All I am asking for is a little of your time.”

With help from the Southwestern Commission, Maggie Valley received a $20,000 grant from the North Carolina Rural Center to develop such a plan for the valley. The commission also pointed the town to Craig Madison, the former president and CEO of the Grove Park Inn Resort and Spa. Madison, along with Maggie leaders, will travel from business to business talking to people about what they want for the valley.

Input from business owners will be the heart of the plan, DeSimone said.

“This is their plan. It belongs to the valley,” DeSimone said. “We are here to get it started.”

Madison will also be involved in crafting an economic development plan that will create a unique identity for the town, set goals for the valley, quantitatively measure growth and, most importantly, give Maggie a singular, cohesive vision.

“Something that tells us if we are on the right path,” DeSimone said.

Maggie Valley was hit hard by the recession and has been criticized in the past for pinning all its hopes and dreams on Ghost Town in the Sky, a once-popular amusement park, which like the valley fell into decline. The park was in foreclosure for a few years before longtime resident Alaska Presley bought Ghost Town and vowed to revive it.

But, people cannot expect her to save Maggie and must find some other baskets to put their eggs in, DeSimone said.

“Alaska can’t do this by herself. She can’t carry the valley,” DeSimone said.

Presley was on hand at the meeting to update attendees on the amusement park, which she hopes to re-open around July 1. Presley will only open the first of the park’s three levels. The lowest level will include a zipline and refurbished versions of some of Ghost Town’s original rides.

“The progress there is good,” Presley said. “There is enough that people would enjoy it.”

The chair lift that takes visitors up the mountain to the park is nearly fixed, and work will soon begin on the incline railway, another mode of transportation up the mountainside. However, the railway will take at least five months to fix. Work has also begun on the zipline.

Workers are still in the process of digging wells to meet Ghost Town’s water supply needs and then will need to redo the park’s plumbing, which was damaged during the seasonal freeze and thaw. However, come hell or high water, Presley is confident that the mountain will re-open by mid-summer and that she will slowly be able to restore the other two levels of the park, which will feature an Old West Town and religious-themed elements.

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