Town throws Zombie-a-Parkolypse to save park

10:44 PM, Oct 5, 2012   |    comments
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A small East Tennessee community in danger of losing its only city park is hoping Halloween can help save it.

In between Loudon and Sweetwater sits Philadelphia. And over the past decade neglect and budget cuts has meant their only recreation space has fallen into disrepair.

Now the people behind a long-standing haunted house attraction have relocated to the park, intending to donate 20 percent of their ticket sales to help preserve it.

The Zombie-a-Parkolypse opened Friday evening and owner Robby Walden says he's expecting record numbers.

"The park touches a lot of people here. Philadelphia is a real small town and this is all they have. And we want to make it accessible for everyone," said Walden.

With overgrown fields and eerily deserted and rusty swing sets, the park looks like the perfect setting for a scary movie.

Bill Russell is on a committee appointed to pioneer its revitalization.

"It has fallen on very hard times," said Russell. "The city of Philadelphia decided at one point to give it away."

But he says the city has rallied around the cause and wants to see it once again host school field days and picnics.

Russell says they're working with the Community Design Center out of Knoxville to create a vision for the park and figure out an operating budget.

"We need all the money we can get," said Russell.

Walden says he's hoping to contribute $6,000 of proceeds to the cause.

The Zombie-a-Parkolypse is open every Friday and Saturday in October starting at 7 p.m.

It will also be open Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday leading up to Halloween.

On Thursday Walden says they'll hold a special fireworks display.

The attraction costs $10 and also includes admission to a kid-friendly festival.

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