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Businessman announces plans for 469-acre Thunder Mountain attraction at BMS

Staff Report • Feb 25, 2010 at 12:00 AM

BRISTOL, Tenn. — A Bristol businessman plans to establish a new parking, camping and retail center near Bristol Motor Speedway, with plans to eventually add a retail district with a convention hall and hotel and a seasonal race-related theme park.

Bob Slagle, owner and manager of Cedars Golf Course, on Thursday announced plans to transform the golf course property off Volunteer Parkway into the new Thunder Mountain, a 469-acre venture with nearly 10,000 new race parking spaces and nearly 5,000 full-service camping spaces.

Slagle, managing partner of Thunder Mountain LLC, hopes to eventually add a retail district with convention/hotel facilities and a race-related theme park at the site.

Slagle said the project will mean tremendous growth and economic impact opportunities for the region.

“Improved lodging, hotel and conference opportunities combined with the continual establishment of Bristol as a year-round tourism and convention destination is truly a win-win for the region,” Slagle said. “This project will have a sustained economic impact in the tens of millions of dollars.”

He said the project will offer increased sales opportunities for existing retailers, restaurants and hotels, increased job opportunities, and an increased tax base.

Tennessee Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, a Republican from Blountville, said the development “could be very exciting for Bristol.”

“With the possible retail development and the addition of hotels and other lodging, this could be a real boom for the Bristol economy. I want to pledge to you that I will do all I can on a state level to help with this development,” Ramsey said.

The plans include redeveloping the existing golf course and the adjacent Cedars property. The land is contiguous to Bristol Motor Speedway.

The Thunder Mountain project is currently in the development and design phase. Slagle hopes to complete the project over a period of five-plus years.

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