The Island in Pigeon Forge seeing big growth after years of comp

The Island in Pigeon Forge seeing big growth after years of complications

Posted:
If you have been to Pigeon Forge lately, you have probably seen the big ferris wheel towering above The Parkway, or maybe even let your inner parrothead come out at Margaritaville. If you have been to Pigeon Forge lately, you have probably seen the big ferris wheel towering above The Parkway, or maybe even let your inner parrothead come out at Margaritaville.
The Island opened to the public last year, but it has not been easy getting it to this point. The Island opened to the public last year, but it has not been easy getting it to this point.
By WHITNEY GOOD
6 News Reporter

PIGEON FORGE (WATE) - One Pigeon Forge area has seen a lot of changes within the past few years.

The Island opened to the public last year, but it has not been easy getting it to this point.

If you have been to Pigeon Forge lately, you have probably seen the big ferris wheel towering above The Parkway, or maybe even let your inner parrothead come out at Margaritaville.

However, nearly 10 years ago, The Island, then being called Belle Island, looked a little different.

First announced in 2005, the project spent several years being designed and built.

Previous story: Knoxville Zoo to add attraction to Pigeon Forge resort

"It's always been optimistic thinking but sometimes delay frustration, and now to see where it is today is very exciting for is as a city," said Eric Brackins, Pigeon Forge Assistant City Manager.

Times got tough in 2009 and the project halted, then went into foreclosure.

Previous story: Belle Island Village developer files for bankruptcy

The Island opened here officially about a year ago, and they say at this point they are about 50 percent open.

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Right now they employ about 500 people and say once everything is open they should have more than 1000 employees.

"We've got three big openings coming up in the next few months: Ole Smoky Distillery, Paula Deen's Family Kitchen and our Margaritaville Island Hotel. So we're hoping with the opening of those, we'll just bring in more and more people," said Summer Wilson, marketing coordinator and The Island.

Previous story: Jimmy Buffett's new "Margaritaville" opens its doors in Pigeon Forge

City of Pigeon Forge officials say it has been a rocky road, but the growth within the past year has been big boost for them with the restaurants shopping and attractions

"Just a new experience for our visitors. We have a lot of repeat visitors and of course we have new people too with the event center and just a first class development for those people to come enjoy," said Brackins.

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