North Carolina Officials Debate Cross in Amusement Park

| by Kendal Mitchell
Maggie Valley.Maggie Valley.

Officials in a North Carolina town continue to debate whether a local amusement park can erect a giant cross in its boundaries.

Alaska Presley, owner of the Ghost Town in the Sky amusement park in Maggie Valley, said she wants build the largest cross in the western hemisphere and put it on her property.

Some Maggie Valley town aldermen said they think Presley needs to think about how the 220-foot cross could affect the view of the ridge.

“The mountains are all about the natural beauty. I think anything that takes away from that is questionable. So I think it certainly needs to be considered,” said Maggie Valley Mayor Ron DeSimone.

Ghost Town was a popular amusement park during the 1960s, '70s and '80s, but began to slide in the 1990s. It shut down from 2002 to 2007 until new owners tried to revive the park. It was bankrupt by 2012.

Presley bought the nearly bankrupt amusement park in 2012. It reopened in July 2014.

Alderman Philip Wight said he thinks the town should not intervene in the cross because it is on Presley’s personal property.

“We are going to restrict somebody’s rights because we don’t like it? I think she ought to be able to do what she is legally entitled to do with her own money,” Wight said.

Other officials said they think the cross makes the measure more controversial because of its religious implications.

“In a strongly Christian community, you would have the public perception that the Maggie board of aldermen are anti-Christian (if we voted against it),” said alderwoman Janet Banks.

Maggie Valley aldermen said there is currently no limit on how tall the potential structure can stand, but said ridgeline laws may determine its final height.

Sources: Smoky Mountain News, Fox8

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons