Thu Jul 11, 2019 7:38 am
An infamous ghost town theme park in western North Carolina won’t reopen as expected this year, adding fuel to its reputation of being “cursed.”
Ghost Town in the Sky — which sits atop its own mountain — had planned a grand reopening in the spring.
However, the site is now up for sale for $5.95 million, according to LoopNet.com.
Valerie Oberle, part of a management team trying to revive the park, confirmed to The Charlotte Observer that the property owner has it on the market.
But Oberle said she and her husband, Spencer, have not given up on their dream to reopen the Wild West themed park.
“Our offer expired, but we are still seeking funding,” she told the Observer. “This is a tough one, as the property continues to deteriorate as the owner has not taken any measures to preserve.”
The 250-acre site is considered one of the world’s most infamous shuttered theme parks.
Located 150 miles northwest of Charlotte in Maggie Valley, it has become internationally known partly for the mishaps that have plagued it, but also because it is a popular destination for an Internet fad known as urban exploration, or Urbex, the Charlotte Observer reported last year.
Such explorers seek out “forgotten” sites and “forbidden places” like old theme parks and shuttered shopping malls, and post photos and videos of their adventures on social media sites devoted to “ruin porn.”
RomanticAsheville.com reported last year that Spencer and Valerie Oberle had a “5-year plan for renovations and expansion” that would maintain the park’s western town theme, while adding “new high-tech experiences.”
Ghost Town in the Sky opened in 1961 as a replica Wild West town, and offered staged gun fights in front of park visitors. At its height, the park attracted 400,000 visitors, the Observer reported in 2007.
The park has been frequently referred to as “cursed” because of the many mishaps reported there since it opened. As a result, it has been closed and reopened multiple times, most recently in 2016, according to RoadsideAmerica.com.
The mishaps include mud slides, equipment failures that trapped patrons for hours on a sky lift and a 2013 incident in which one of the park’s cowboys was wounded by a real bullet during a fake gunfight, the Observer reported in 2017.
Mon Oct 14, 2019 6:14 am
Beloved but long-shuttered Maggie Valley mountaintop amusement park Ghost Town in the Sky is once again under contract, giving new hope to those who long for the park’s revitalization.
“There is a new person involved in Ghost Town,” said Nathan Clark, Maggie Valley’s town manager. “They are in the due diligence period, and they do have a contract to the best of my understanding. They’re looking at what can be done at Ghost Town.”
Linda Taylor, broker/owner of ViP Realty, has been representing the developer and confirmed that he signed the contract in mid-August, but cautioned that the due diligence period is a long one — 120 days or more.
The developer is using that time to fully investigate the infrastructure problems that have plagued the site for years.
“Right now there are just very general conversations about how sewer was planned to go to the mountain,” Clark said. “We’ve met with them on some water and sewer issues a couple of times. They have looked at former grant applications and former sewer plans that previous ownership groups had looked at but never completed.”
In addition to the water and sewer problems, any potential developer would also have to deal with another more recent but no less unfortunate situation at the park, which failed to reopen in 2016 after several years of sporadic operation.
“There has been some vandalism,” said Taylor said, adding that the site was now under the control of the developer and that enhanced security measures had already been implemented. “There is zero tolerance for trespassing.”
Taylor couldn’t reveal the identity of the potential buyer, but did release a few tantalizing details, namely, that he’s not in any way affiliated with the property’s most recent suitors.
Former Disney execs Valerie and Spencer Oberle, along with business partner Lamar Berry, attempted to buy the park from owner Alaska Presley last year, but left only liens and lawsuits in their wake after the deal fell through.
Unlike Berry and the Oberles, the current prospective buyer has the “wherewithal” to line up funding for the deal, according to Taylor.
Taylor also said that the mystery buyer’s recent visit to the top of Buck Mountain wasn’t his first.
“He has some really good childhood memories of the park,” Taylor said. “Just like generations of people in the Southeast.”
Mon Oct 14, 2019 6:40 am
Mon Oct 14, 2019 6:47 am
Mon Oct 14, 2019 7:03 am
coasterbill wrote::lol: I'd say "just let it die" but I guess what else would you really put there?