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TPR's Deep South trip will be making a stop at Ghost Town! We have ERT on both coasters as well as a show just for our group! We'll mount the HD lipstick camera onto the coaster as well.

 

Should be awesome!

 

--Robb

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TPR's Deep South trip will be making a stop at Ghost Town! We have ERT on both coasters as well as a show just for our group! We'll mount the HD lipstick camera onto the coaster as well.

 

Should be awesome!

 

--Robb

 

Wow! You guys work fast! I am sure that park will appreciate the business.

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The Cliffhanger Roller Coaster has passed state inspection and we are now finalizing minor modifications to the grounds and coaster and are unable to open the coaster for the weekend. We are very sorry for the inconvenience.

 

The above quote is from Ghost Towns home page...minor modifications on July 4th weekend after its already opened? They should have been ready it seems since the inspection was passed. Why would they do this???

 

Oh I just heard why, they are installing R-I-N-G-S.

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The Cliffhanger Roller Coaster has passed state inspection and we are now finalizing minor modifications to the grounds and coaster and are unable to open the coaster for the weekend. We are very sorry for the inconvenience.

 

The above quote is from Ghost Towns home page...minor modifications on July 4th weekend after its already opened? They should have been ready it seems since the inspection was passed. Why would they do this???

 

Oh I just heard why, they are installing R-I-N-G-S.

 

What are R-I-N-G-S?? I'm assuming it is an acronym.

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  • 4 months later...

Looks like the park is having troubles again (both of these spotted on Screamscape) :

 

A local TV news report discusses how the park has had difficultly paying employees.

 

Then this article discusses the latest in the bankruptcy case.

 

Quote from the article:

 

Some 200 businesses, many of them local contractors and small businesses in the region, are collectively owed more than $2.4 million. They are at the bottom of the list to be repaid. The reorganization plan calls for paying back only 25 percent of what the businesses are owed over a seven year period using a portion of net profits.

 

Doesn't sound like the park has a positive future...

 

dt

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Thankfully, I got that credit back in like '93 when it was still called The Red Devil Roller Coaster. Granted, it poured down rain the entire time, but I got a few solo rides in.

 

My friend here in Charlotte went out there before that coaster went SBNO. She said that she was also the only one riding the coaster. Upon approaching the station, she realized she wasn't slowing down. The ops informed her she would be riding again.

 

Apparently the station breaks were not working and she said like 15 guys had to physically stop the train from moving. INSANE.

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I got the credit back in like 98, and it wasn't a very memorable coaster. We went to the park on a Saturday in July while visiting my Grandparents, and we were the ONLY people in the park. We watched a show and it was really sad how they had a cast of like 25 for 4 people in the audience.

 

Also we didnt even pay for our tickets as my grandparents had won them, so i cant see this park being very profitable even when they were "busy"

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  • 2 months later...

Just a reminder, Freestyle Park in not the only park in the Carolinas in financial trouble.

 

Creditors to vote on whether Ghost Town reorganizes or liquidates

 

Creditors to vote on whether Ghost Town reorganizes or liquidates

By Becky Johnson • Staff writer

 

 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Dozens of local businesses owed money by Ghost Town are mulling over ballots this week that will ultimately decide the amusement park’s fate.

 

Ghost Town, which landed in bankruptcy a year ago, owes a total of $13.5 million. It hopes to regain its footing and become profitable again, eventually paying off what it owes over the next seven years.

 

Ultimately, everyone owed money will get to vote on whether to accept the reorganization plan or force Ghost Town into a liquidation — namely selling off the mountaintop property to the highest bidder and using the proceeds to pay off the debt.

 

Some 200 businesses, many of them local contractors and small businesses in the region, are collectively owed more than $2.4 million by Ghost Town. They are at the bottom of the list to be repaid.

 

Wallace Messer of Dickson Auto Parts in Waynesville is skeptical he will ever see the $11,000 he is owed for parts and supplies.

 

“I just don’t see them turning a profit enough to pay off what they owe,” Messer said. “If you want my honest opinion, they will never pay off what they owe. They can’t come out from under it.”

 

Messer said he will vote for a liquidation and hope that a sale of the property brings enough to pay everyone back.

 

Mike Plemmons, the owner of Plemmons Plumbing and Heating, wants to give Ghost Town a chance to stay open and try to turn a profit, however. There is $11 million in debt owed ahead of small businesses like Plemmons, and if the property is sold off, it might not fetch enough to pay off those at the bottom of the list, he said. He thinks Ghost Town staying open is the best chance he has to get paid back.

 

“I’d rather go down fighting and have some chance as have no chance at all. Slim is better than none,” said Plemmons.

 

Plemmons is owed $8,000 for supplies, which he ordered especially for Ghost Town from distributors then had to cover out of his own pocket when Ghost Town didn’t pay.

 

Bruce Johnson, the owner of Champion Supply, doesn’t hold out much hope Ghost Town will ever pay off its $16,000 bill for cleaning and janitorial supplies under either scenario.

 

“I don’t think we are going to get money either way,” Johnson said.

 

So he is going to mark his ballot based on what he thinks is in the community’s best interest.

 

“I think it is better for the economy if they keep operating,” Johnson said. “The people they pull in help everyone.”

 

Johnson said he should have put a hold on Ghost Town’s supply account sooner than he did.

 

“They kept saying they would get us a check,” Johnson said. “We took our eye off the ball.”

 

Johnson did finally put Ghost Town on a cash account, and it has continued buying supplies from him over the past year, this time, paying up front.

 

Messer said he regularly sold parts to the previous Ghost Town owners. When new owners bought the park in 2007, they continued making purchases under same account, which had a good track record.

 

“I should have started a new account,” Messer said.

 

Plemmons said local businesses operate on good faith and is disappointed someone violated that trust.

 

“All your family businesses are run by people getting up every morning trying to make an honest living,” Plemmons said.

 

But in Ghost Town’s case, they kept promising to pay. Plemmons thought they were just being slow and allowed them to keep ordering more supplies. Eventually they quit calling him back and he was in the dark until the bankruptcy papers came through.

 

Those owed money have to mail their ballots by next week. The plan must be approved by the majority of creditors, and by those holding two-thirds of the total debt.

 

The rules prevent one big lender like BB&T, which is owed $9.5 million by Ghost Town, from swaying the vote. It also prevents dozens of smaller companies from tipping the scale by virtue of their numbers, even though the amounts they are owed is much smaller.

 

As for the 215 companies collectively owed $2.4 million, Ghost Town’s reorganization plan pledges to pay them back over seven years out of profits. The plan calls for dedicating 6 percent of net revenue received each year to pay back the small business owners.

 

However, the park hasn’t turned a profit in two years. Ghost Town CEO Steve Shiver blames the recession for lackluster ticket sales the past two years. The 1960s-era amusement park also had far more issues lurking beneath the surface than its new owners realized when buying the park in 2007, requiring costly repairs and upgrades that weren’t in the original business plan. The recession made it impossible to secure financing, but Shiver says he has now found a lender that will help put them back on stable footing.

 

Shiver said the park was planning to open for the season in late May, then the landslide happened.

 

“We are extremely concerned that we can’t open this season — for all of us and the Maggie Valley tourist industry,” Shiver said. “To be fully prepared and geared to open and then have this happen ... but the owners are committed to seeing this through.”

 

The reorganization plan initially called for paying back only 25 percent of what the businesses are owed over a seven-year period using a portion of net profits, but was amended to call for 100 percent payoff.

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I feel sorry for the local businesses who put their faith in a revitalized Ghost Town. I remember chatting with some folks who run the tourist-related shops (ice cream, souvenirs, etc.) at the foot of the mountain a few years ago, and they were really looking forward to the park reopening and revitalizing Maggie Valley.

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Bummer. I've got family in Asheville and really wanted to go visit this place, but have been holding out until I'm confident that the coaster is working.

 

Did they ever get it working again last year after it got closed due to the problem with the train? In retrospect, it seems like a bad idea to have opened this place without the coaster. To me, that was the draw: Riding a coaster on top of a mountain.

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Yep, they got it working and it even took passengers!

 

 

POV and everything

 

MOD EDIT by larrygator: Ginzo knows that GTITS got the coaster running, but the coaster was shut down a few days later becasue of a problem with the train. He wanted to know if they ever fixed the train problem and ran in again after early July.

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You know, it's really bad to see a theme park that once was defunct suddenly brought back to life only to be killed once again. Usually I'm suppose to be a hopeless optimistic, but after visiting that park in 2007 and hearing the constent reports of problems the park's been having (especially with Cliffhanger, the coaster that was never running until it became too late) I can say it's time to pull the plug. Nice try, but no cigar.

 

"I'm a pillow. You can cry on me if you want."

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http://www.thebluebanner.net/maggie-valley-mudslide-causes-resident-evacuation-1.1174344

 

A mudslide in Haywood County earlier this month threatened several homes and displaced more than 40 residents, according to county officials. The slide occurred around 6 p.m. on Feb. 5, near the edge of Ghost Town in the Sky, a local theme park.

 

Heavy accumulation of snow and ice from recent winter storms likely triggered the collapse of a retaining wall, which sent mud and debris tumbling down onto a section of Rich Cove Road in Maggie Valley for nearly 30 minutes, according to geologists. “Luckily, no one was hurt and those people’s homes are still standing,” said Annie Wilborn, former Maggie Valley property owner.

 

While the mudslide did not inure residents or pets, it destroyed the rear of one home and slightly damaged three others. Investigators deemed that homes were in the direct path of the 3,000 foot-long barrages of mud and earth. The mudslides reached widths of more than 150 feet, according to the N.C. Department of Environmental and Natural Sciences.

 

County EMS, fire and law enforcement agencies quickly helped evacuate most of the residents, although a few people stayed in their homes. “All you can do is advise them,” said Chris Carver, Maggie Valley Fire Department battalion chief of the evacuation. “It’s not mandatory, so we can’t make them leave.” The fire department’s proximity to the site allowed their squad to promptly aid victims of the slide. “We’re not far from there, so we were able to respond in about three minutes, maybe less,” Carver said. Department officials established an emergency shelter at nearby Maggie Valley United Methodist Church on Soco Road. Residents were briefly allowed to return home the next day, but only to retrieve necessities such as clothes and medicine, according to department reports.

 

Initially, there was no set timetable as to when residents could finally return home. The shelter said it would stay open as long as needed, and took in some of the residents for several days. Many of the displaced individuals stayed with friends and family in the area or at local hotels, according to reports. Most residents have been allowed back in their homes, although officials ask people in the Rich Cove area to boil water before use. The mud flow potentially infiltrated and disturbed the water lines.

 

The state’s transportation department is responsible for repairs to the road itself, which was badly damaged. According to the N.C. Department of Transportation, Rich Cove is the steepest state-maintained road in North Carolina. Disaster appraisal crews and investigators went to the site the following day to assess the damages and determine possible causes of the slide. The National Guard did a fly-over Saturday to observe the mudslide’s overall impact on the mountain and establish its current state, according to one local news report.

 

Maggie Valley town administrators and county commissioners recently declared the site an official disaster area, according to local news reports last week. This gives Federal Emergency Management Agency representatives the authority to evaluate the conditions for necessary federal relief funding. Individual donations, including Ghost Town, along with assistance from the Red Cross of Haywood County and the Salvation Army, helped the evacuees with everyday needs until they couldcle return home.

 

More wet winter weather in the forecast has geological authorities concerned about another slide of the same magnitude, or worse. An estimated 16 tons of earthen landscape remain behind the now shambled retaining wall on the grounds of Ghost Town. According to some locals, the wall’s structural integrity was in question in recent years. Many considered the retainer to be installed improperly or inadequately constructed. Some even pointed to complicated water and sewer line configurations around the area of the site as the culprits.

 

Although a minor slide in December occurred at the same spot, Ghost Town management did not work to prevent the barrier from further giving way in some time. According to Carver, their efforts had been slow. “They haven’t been working on that wall in two years,” Carver said.

The theme park owners did not respond to The Blue Banner’s request for an interview, but local news reports last week confirmed the mudslide delayed the park’s plans to reopen this summer after several years of inactivity.

 

This recent landslide is yet another roadblock, literally, for the embattled amusement park. Rich Cove Road is the primary entrance to the park, and it will take several months to fully repair and ultimately reopen for traffic. Ghost Town declared bankruptcy a few years ago, and recently changed ownership. The park’s landscape retention problem was an issue “essentially inherited by the new owners,” according to a former park employee who wished not to be identified by name. “They had been trying to fix the situation, but having that work done doesn’t come cheap,” the former employee said. “If the mudslide cleanup postpones their reopening, that would definitely impact the area’s economy by hurting tourism and denying needed jobs in the county.”

 

Wilborn’s residence and adjacent lots, near Maggie Valley Country Club, were also situated atop a steeply graded tract of mountainside.

Although now a resident of Mississippi, the antiques dealer, 57, said the looming danger of erosion and landslides posed a constant worry to homeowners in her neighborhood. Wilborn said ongoing development of new home sites and mountaintop living communities in the region should be more carefully planned to prevent future landslides.; “Developers need to better review these home sites where they know unsafe terrain exists,” Wilborn said. “They should focus more on the preservation of that area’s beautiful mountain landscape anyway, instead of just continually building and building.” The jurisdiction of Maggie Valley has no slope ordinance in place for building sites.

 

According to official town reports, contractors and land planners depend on the guidance of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to deal with such matters. “If they had only kept Mother Nature in mind, then maybe some of those mudslides could have been prevented,” Wilborn said. The latest muddy flood on Rich Cove Road raised locals’ eyebrows again to the concerns of erosion, land use and the threat of mudslides. According to past news archives, a landslide killed a Maggie Valley woman when her home was crushed in 2003. “I’ve seen enough home sites damaged by mudslides in recent years to where I think our department is always ready for it,” he said.

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  • 2 weeks later...

http://www.smokymountainnews.com/issues/03_10/03_10_10/fr_gt_foreclosure.html

 

Ghost Town in the Sky amusement park could be foreclosed on as early as June unless investors step forward with a cash infusion between now and then, according to Ghost Town’s bankruptcy attorney. The theme park in Maggie Valley has been struggling with bankruptcy for the past year. Owners pledged to pull through and become profitable again. But as of now, the company doesn’t have the money to ramp up to open for the summer season, according to David Gray, bankruptcy attorney for Ghost Town. “We don’t have any funding to open the park,” Gray said in court last week.

 

Meanwhile, BB&T has been pushing to collect on its $9.5 million loan to Ghost Town. The current owners took out the loan to buy the park in 2007 and make major repairs. A frustrated BB&T has been calling for a court-ordered liquidation of Ghost Town, essentially a forced sale of the park to pay off its debts. Ghost Town chose not to put up a fight in bankruptcy court last week and instead agreed to let BB&T start the wheels of foreclosure with one caveat: that it not take place before June. The move bought Ghost Town owners three months to continue their hunt for funding.

 

“They are going to try to put together some sort of financing,” Gray said. Gray said it takes $250,000 to $300,000 to open the park for the season. Most of that goes to hire some 200 employees and pay their salaries until revenue from ticket sales starts to roll in, and to spruce up the grounds and get everything working again.

 

Ghost Town was supposed to formulate a plan on how it would emerge from bankruptcy and repay some $13 million in debt. Such a reorganization plan is required by the bankruptcy court. The park owners came up with a plan that requires $2.3 million in new equity this year in order to pull off a reorganization, according to the bankruptcy administrator. But the plan fails to say where the new equity will come from. Gray said the park owners need more time.

 

Gray said Ghost Town will revise its reorganization plan — which faced serious court objections anyway — and present a new one if it can find the necessary capital. If that doesn’t happen by June, Ghost Town will be sold to the highest bidder. CEO Steve Shiver could not comment on negotiations with potential investors but is positive about the eventual outcome.

 

What will become of Ghost Town?

 

If Ghost Town can come up with a new, viable plan between now and the June foreclosure proceedings, BB&T will likely be willing to work with Ghost Town and halt the foreclosure, Gray said. If Ghost Town is sold in foreclosure, it is unclear whether it would fetch enough to cover what BB&T is owed. Ghost Town includes 288 acres and a collection of amusement park rides. Often with foreclosures, the bank holding the mortgage ends up owning the property. “Do you think BB&T wants it?” Grey asked. “It’s the tar baby. What are they going to do with it?”

 

Prospects of a buyer are complicated by a mudslide originating from Ghost Town’s property last month. Who’s liable for the cleanup and stabilization is still being debated. Maggie Valley Mayor Roger McElroy just hopes that it stays an amusement park rather than getting turned into a real estate development. “Whoever can make a go of it will be what’s best for the town, whether it is this group or another group,” McElroy said.

 

Ghost Town is zoned commercial by the town. Residential is not allowed without an exemption. If a future owner wants to turn the mountaintop into a residential development, they would have to seek an exemption from the town zoning board of adjustment.

 

When Ghost Town’s current owners appeared on the scene in 2007, the park had been closed for five years. “A lot of motels and restaurants were hanging on by the skin of their teeth. When Ghost Town opened back up, it made a difference,” McElroy said. Lacking start-up capital for the season is not new, however. Ghost Town faced the same problem last year. Ghost Town CEO Steve Shiver went on an extensive but unsuccessful hunt for public funding from the Town of Maggie Valley, and courted numerous local and regional tourism and economic development entities but to no avail. The town was unwilling to pledge tax dollars to help the struggling amusement park reopen with no guarantee it would be paid back. Investors, many of them Maggie Valley business people, chipped in to provide the capital to get the park open.

 

Brenda O’Keefe, owner of Joey’s Pancake House, invested in the park’s new owners out of her love and devotion for Maggie Valley. For four decades, Ghost Town was an anchor attraction that pulled tens of thousands into Maggie Valley each summer and fall. Like so many, O’Keefe was eager to see it reclaim its former glory. “Was I 100 percent sure it was going to make it? No. But the motel owners have to have people come into Maggie Valley and stay overnight to make it,” O’Keefe said. “I am a member of this community, and I want to see it thrive.” So she and others stepped up to the plate. When Ghost Town reopened in 2007 after five years of being closed, it garnered lots of media attention. Now, it could be worse than if it had never reopened at all. “A closed amusement park is one thing. A failed amusement park is much worse,” O’Keefe said.

 

Feedback from customers who had visited Ghost Town was all positive this year, which hasn’t always been the case, O’Keefe said. O’Keefe said that shows the park and its employees were trying their hardest to provide tourists with a positive experience. O’Keefe believes the park is almost where it needs to be, but has been a victim of the economy. “If you got the figures for all theme parks last year, it wasn’t good,” O’Keefe said. “Everybody’s figures were way down. It is not just Ghost Town.” O’Keefe credits Ghost Town CEO Steve Shiver for doing all he could. “He has worked very hard to try to keep it going. He has put a lot of money into it certainly more than anyone else,” O’Keefe said. “It is just a matter of having enough capital to go forward. It has always had a problem of being undercapitalized.”

 

Like McElroy, O’Keefe is concerned about the impacts to Maggie Valley business owners if Ghost Town doesn’t open this year. “We are very distressed about it,” O’Keefe said, adding that it is time for the town to get creative. “We are certainly going to be looking for something else to bring people to Maggie. We are not going to sit on the sidelines.”

 

Ghost Town buys time to find financing

 

When Ghost Town agreed to a June foreclosure by BB&T, what could have been a lengthy and dramatic courtroom showdown last week was reduced to less than five minutes. Had Ghost Town pushed ahead with the reorganization plan in its current form, it’s unclear whether a judge would have approved it. It faced serious hurdles due to inadequacies, according to Alexandria Kenny, a federal bankruptcy administrator who works for the bankruptcy court. Kenny wrote in her objection that the plan is “vague, ambiguous and not feasible,” and even called one portion “absurd.”

 

A handful of major stakeholders objected to the plan. BB&T claimed the plan was not proposed in “good faith.” BB&T also objected to the general way Ghost Town has conducted itself during bankruptcy proceedings. Ghost Town’s reorganization plan was slow to materialize, requiring several court extensions. It has repeatedly failed to meet other court-imposed deadlines for filing various financial documents.

 

Failure by Ghost Town to pay its taxes in 2009 led both Haywood County and the town of Maggie Valley to object to the reorganization plan. Both are still owed taxes from 2008 as well.

 

Everyone owed money by Ghost Town could vote on the plan. Other than BB&T, there are 225 companies collectively owed $2.5 million from Ghost Town for everything from radio ads to souvenir merchandise to plumbing parts. Of those, 90 sent in ballots and 84 voted in favor of the reorganization, Gray said. It’s not surprising since those companies stand at the back of the line. Under a foreclosure or liquidation, the park’s 288 acres would have to sell for more than $10.5 million before those companies saw their first nickel. Under reorganization, Ghost Town proposed paying back those 225 companies starting in summer 2011 based on a 6.5 percent cut of the park’s revenue. Kenny objected that Ghost Town should pledge a specific minimum dollar amount it would pay each year.

 

Still piling on debt

 

While in bankruptcy protection, Ghost Town got a hiatus from bill collectors and old debt. But the park continued to rack up new debt during 2009. Financial filings show past due bills of more than $400,000 still lingering from last year. Some are for goods and services rendered, like attorney’s fees, termite exterminators and a marketing consultant. But there are also hefty utility bills. Ghost Town owes a water bill of $4,430 and power bill of $20,000, both of which were cut off due to failure to pay at the end of the season last year. It owes AT&T $2,000. Other past due bills from 2009 include $85,000 in property taxes to the town of Maggie and Haywood County. Both are still owed taxes from 2008 as well. Ghost Town also owes the state $10,500 in sales tax from 2009 and $4,800 in amusement tax. It owes the IRS $2,300.

 

In addition to $400,000 in past due bills from 2009, Ghost Town owed investors and partners $712,000 that was put up over the course of the year. Ghost Town has listed the $712,000 from as part of its debt to be repaid.

 

Ghost Town’s current reorganization plan forecasts the park would continue operating at a loss until 2013, even with the infusion of new equity to the tune of $4 million over the same three year period, according to the bankruptcy administrator.

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