Lawsuit puts Ghost Town development in limbo
Just two weeks after a lawsuit was filed to dissolve Ghost Town in the Sky, LLC — the company that claims to be developing the former amusement park — attorneys representing the party wishing to keep it intact has filed to move the case to the state’s business court.
Alaska Presley, business titan and longtime Ghost Town owner, dead at 98
Small in stature but towering in her decades-long influence on Haywood County, Alaska Presley passed away on April 7 at Smoky Mountain Health and Rehabilitation, according to an obituary from Wells Funeral Home.
Ghosted: Clock runs out on latest Ghost Town redevelopment plan
The strange saga of Maggie Valley’s Ghost Town amusement park has more twists and turns and more highs and lows than a roller coaster, but now that the latest ride up Buck Mountain is over, two investors say CEO Lamar Berry has thrown them for a loop.
GALLERY: Ghost Town property going on the market
After attempting to revamp the mountaintop amusement park for several years, Alaska Presley has decided to sell Ghost Town in the Sky in Maggie Valley.
Maggie calls on higher power to referee ridgetop cross proposal
A lofty vision to build a 220-foot cross on the mountaintop above Maggie Valley has been downwardly revised to 125 feet, but it could still run afoul of the state ridge law.
Rumors of giant cross on the ridgeline above Maggie prompts debate
Maggie Valley leaders could land in the middle of a controversy in coming months about whether the owner of Ghost Town in the Sky amusement park should be allowed to build a giant cross on the ridgeline above Maggie Valley.
Ghost Town gunfighter says shooting injury was no accident
Four months after he was injured in a staged Old West gunshow, a former Ghost Town in the Sky gunfighter said he is waiting for someone to thoroughly investigate the incident, which he believes was foul play.
Ghost Town’s limited opening offers a taste of historic amusement park’s new era
Ghost 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.
Ghost Town’s savior officially takes title to retro amusement rides
The new owner of Ghost Town in the Sky tied up the final loose ends related to her purchase of the bankrupt amusement park last week.
Alaska Presley officially took title to the rides and buildings on the grounds of the once-popular amusement park for $500,000, bringing the total cost of buying Ghost Town out of foreclosure to $2 million. She purchased the actual land in mid-February for $1.5 million.
The list of equipment and buildings in the sale includes Ghost Town’s rides, the A-frame souvenir shop and ticket booth at the bottom of the mountain and the structures that make up the mock Wild West town.
The inventory indicates that most of Ghost Town’s rides — such as a vintage WWII-era carousel, the kiddie coaster and Sky Fighter — are more than 40 years old and have dwelled inside the amusement park’s gates since its heyday. Despite their age, Presley previously stated that she will refurbish and restore the rides if possible.
Ghost Town has been closed for two years after going into bankruptcy, but Presley plans to reopen the park that once brought 400,000 visitors and prosperity to Maggie Valley. But, before it can even think about opening, “there is so much more to be done,” Presley said.
Presley has gotten electrical power restored to a portion of the park, including the old Wild West town, which is the main focus of Presley’s revitalization efforts right now and the portion that she hopes to open before the end of the tourist season this year.
Haywood EMC, the electrical power company that serves Ghost Town, turned off the power after being stiffed an unknown amount of money by the former owners. The company previously told Presley that it would restore electrical services to the mountain if she shelled out $30,000 up front given the track record of the past owners.
Presley has also figured out a new plan to solve ongoing woes with the park’s water system. Ghost Town is on the public water supply of Maggie Valley Sanitary District, but has battled with aging pipes and system to get the water up to the mountaintop theme park. Presley now plans to build two wells to provide water to the amusement park rather than trying to pump water up the mountain.
“It will be so much more economical,” Presley said.
Dolly’s sister offers to lend a hand for Ghost Town comeback
Ghost Town in the Sky owner Alaska Presley has recruited singer and longtime friend Stella Parton to help her draw tourists to Maggie Valley.
Presley spoke to the town’s Board of Aldermen last week about the idea of hosting at least a couple of concert events this year in the parking lot of Ghost Town, an amusement park that was once kept the pace of the valley’s economic heartbeat. The park was closed for two years after going into bankruptcy. However, Presley has purchased the property and promised to restore it to its former glory.
Parton, sister of the famed Dolly Parton, was on hand to introduce herself to the new town leaders and speak a bit more about the possible event.
Although it is too late in the year to plan a Memorial Day event, Parton said she wants to host concert events, tentatively titled Pickin’ in the Parking Lot, around July 4th and Labor Day Weekend.
“It will be almost like a weekend festival,” Parton said.
Friday would feature bluegrass bands; Saturday would showcase country singers, including Parton herself; and Sunday would be reserved for gospel music. Each day would spotlight “local flavor as well as a headliner.”
Parton, who has roots in Haywood County, told the town aldermen and those in attendance that she is not an investor but simply someone who wants to help Presley and help the valley.
“We are going to bring people into the valley,” Presley said. “Ghost Town will go. I have no doubt.”
Presley also stated that she was grateful for the advice and kind words she has received from Maggie Valley residents since she purchased Ghost Town.
“This is the first time in so many years that I’ve seen the valley come together,” Presley said.
And, despite a couple snags in her plans, Presley is still confident that parts of Ghost Town will be open and running smoothly come summer. Topping the to-do list is getting the rides up and running, including a chairlift that takes tourists from the valley floor to the mountaintop theme park. If and when Ghost Town opens this year, the chair lift will be the sole mode of transportation up the mountain.
“The chair lift won’t take very much (to repair),” Presley said, estimating that it will cost about $30,000 to “perfect it.”
Although she originally thought that incline railway could be repaired by summer, Presley did not officially own the amusement park until the end of last month, which kept her from starting repairs earlier. When state inspectors came to tour Ghost Town a couple weeks ago, they advised Presley to hold off on the incline repairs until the end of tourism season this year, saying it would likely not be fully functional until late in the season.
By forgoing the incline repairs, Presley can focus more time on other important obstacles — such powering the mountain and fixing the water system.
After being stiffed an unknown amount of money by the previous owners, the electrical power company that serves Ghost Town said it would not restore electrical services to the mountain unless Presley shells out $30,000 before Aug. 1. And, after paying $20,000 for a new water pump to push the essential liquid up the steep mountain slopes, the municipal water district told Presley that her best opinion might be to dig wells, which could provide aqua to the amusement park.
On the sunny side, Presley is currently on the look out for someone to construct a zipline, one of several attractions she hopes to open this year.