GATLINBURG, Tenn. (WATE) — For thirty years Mark Pedro has worked at Gatlinburg’s Christ in the Smokies Museum and Gardens.
Pedro is the art curator for the museum, and was there when it was Christus Gardens, too. He was part of a group that helped to reopen the museum after Christus Gardens closed in 2007.
“I started here by just cleaning the scenes and doing some marketing and Christmas lighting, I’ve been doing Christmas lighting forever,” said Pedro.
He’s helped build the collection of biblical material for years, but now he’s moving the collection because he says the property’s lease has been sold.
“Basically, the property had been sold to the neighbors and they’re planning so many wonderful things for the property,” said Pedro, “they needed more room to expand so they purchased the lease.”
The neighbor he is referencing is Gatlinburg SkyLift Park. The company that operates the park owns most of the adjacent property to the museum.
We reached out to Gatlinburg SkyLift Park but have not received a response.
Property tax records assess the museum property’s worth at just more than $3.6 million.
Pedro says he’s excited about the new attraction but it’s bittersweet.
The museum’s collection has been sold to the Biblical Times attraction in Pigeon Forge.
“It’s heart-wrenching I must admit,” explained Pedro, “but I’m excited with what they can probably do with it with a bunch of new people looking at it and what they can do today.”