SLIDESHOW: WDRB gets an inside look at the old Funtown Mountain property before auction
Funtown Mountain is up for auction -- and on Wednesday, WDRB's Katie George got a look inside at what potential buyers can expect.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Funtown Mountain is up for auction -- and on Wednesday, WDRB's Katie George got a look inside at what potential buyers can expect.
From Guntown Mountain, to Funtown Mountain, to the images of disarray you see at right. The well known roadside attraction is hitting the auction block next week.
Guntown Mountain first opened in 1969. Now, the 25+ acre site includes a gift shop and craft shops, a former indoor putt-putt golf building, a haunted hotel attraction, and a chair lift at the bottom of the mountain.
Last year, Will Russell, a Louisville businessman, bought the property and reopened it as "Funtown Mountain," hoping to revitalize the area. It closed a few months later, after Russell ran into legal and financial problems. He eventually went on to close the Why Louisville stores he owned as well.
Now, the Commonwealth of Kentucky is putting the Cave City property up for auction.
A public inspection was held on Wednesday for potential buyers. They walked through different buildings to see how Russell left the place.
"Somewhat surprised that somebody would come here and leave it in such a condition that it's in," said David Ray Froggett, Jr., a potential buyer. "It's pretty bad."
"I think it's almost exactly what I expected," said David Gray, another potential buyer. "This used to be a real show place in town. Obviously it's pretty run down, but it still I think it has great potential."
Many buyers said the place needs a lot of work just to get it up and running again. Some even said it would be a multi-million-dollar project.
"Well, for starters, I'd say around $5 million, and then through the next phases, I'd say on to 10, 15 and possibly 20 [million]," Froggett said.
Officials say the property will go to the highest bidder and they can choose what to do with the land.
"A lot of its in the eye of the beholder and what the uses are," said Edward Durnil of Tranzon Asset Advisors. "We've got people who are willing and wanting to use it for its current use and refurbish it, and we've got people who want to reposition it to another asset type or hotel site or something along those lines -- other commercial uses -- so it really is going to determine who has the deepest pockets and the largest ego."
Locals want to give tourists visiting Mammoth Cave National Park something besides an eyesore to look at when they get off the exit.
"When you start things off like this, it doesn't really encourage visitation and tourism," said Gray. "I hope whoever comes in here...if they have the right vision, they could really turn it into something special. But it's going to take money and some vision."
The foreclosure auction sale for this property will be held here on April 20.
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