In Pigeon Forge, the Island is open for business

22-acre development features wheel, restaurants, shopping
Jun. 21, 2013 @ 11:25 PM

Media and area dignitaries gathered at the Island in Pigeon Forge Thursday for ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the opening of the new development.

The celebration included catering by the Island’s Timberwood Grill and live music by Chad McWilliams. The ribbon cutting ceremony began around noon and took place in front of the Great Smoky Mountain Wheel, the Island’s main attraction.

“Very special thank you to the folks who invested in Pigeon Forge,” Mayor David Wear said to the crowd in front of the wheel. “We appreciate you guys trusting in our destination, investing in our city ... but most importantly creating those jobs that are so hard to come by in our economy these days.”

Thursday marked the opening of the first phase of the 22-acre development. The first phase includes most of the dining options, like Timberwood Grill and Mellow Mushroom, as well as some retail shopping and the Great Smoky Mountain Wheel.

Construction for the second phase will begin in the fall and is expected to be completed next spring.

“We also look forward to the opening of the second phase,” Wear said. “We know that’s going to be equally successful. This is going to be an iconic destination for Pigeon Forge, and we look forward to the effects that are already being felt throughout the region because of this opening.

“I’m so proud of (Pigeon Forge’s) history, our past, our heritage, but as proud as I am of that, I am very excited for our future.”

During the ceremony, Island developer Darby Campbell presented a $10,000 check from the Island to the Boys & Girls Club of the Smoky Mountains.

“On behalf of the Island and all the investors and people who worked so hard to bring this to fruition, we want to present to you a check of $10,000 for the Boys & Girls Club of the Smoky Mountains,” Campbell said.

Mark Ross, chief professional officer of the Boys & Girls Club, received the check along with children in the club. After receiving the check, the ribbon was cut and the children were first in line to ride the 200-foot wheel.

The special opening celebration continued until 2 p.m.

The Island opens to the public today at 10 a.m.