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Wednesday, 13 May 2009 16:47

Ghost Town seeks ride inspections

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A team of state inspectors will arrive at Ghost Town in the Sky amusement park on Monday, May 18, in hopes of getting the rides and chairlift certified for the anticipated opening day of May 22.

Ghost Town barely made the cut-off for requesting an inspection in time to open, and will leave the state inspectors pushed to get it done time.

“To be honest it is going to be a really tough week for us,” said Jonathan Brooks, chief of the N.C. Elevator & Amusement Device Bureau.

Brooks will dedicate a team of five or six inspectors to Ghost Town for the week. The chairlift will be most time consuming, with inspectors physically assessing all 105 chairs, the structural integrity of the support towers and the mechanical functions that run the chair lift. They will also witness the evacuation procedure. The 10 rides on top of the mountain will take less time.

“Barring that we don’t have any unforeseen issues, I feel fairly comfortable with our guys on those rides for a week, the chances are pretty good,” Brooks said of getting the inspections done in time.

Ghost Town has also requested a ride inspection of the roller coaster, which has been out of operation while being rebuilt. The coaster inspection is far more involved.

“It will be a tough, tough haul to get the coaster done. I professionally don’t see it happening by opening day,” Brooks said. It could be done by the following weekend, however, if all goes well and nothing needs fixing or altering.

Some steps in the chairlift and coaster inspection have already been checked off. The chairlift cable has already been certified, as well as aspects of the roller coaster car, including the lap restraint system. The train car is still at the manufacturers in Tennessee, where testing was being conducted, but should arrive at the park by week’s end, Brooks said. Some portions of the track inspection have been completed by a private ride engineer and is supposed to be in the mail to Brooks.

Maggie Valley aldermen will hold a public hearing at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 14, on whether to loan Ghost Town $200,000. The amusement park is currently in Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

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