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PLANS TO REBUILD PANAMA CITY BEACH STARLINER

An announcement was made in February of plans to move Miracle Strip at Pier Park in Panama City, Florida, to a larger, 10.5-acre site not far from the current location. Owners Teddy and Jenny Meeks expect to break ground for the new park this fall and open at the new location in spring 2014. The park's 11 current rides will be moved and nine more are in the plans to be added.

Although financing is secured for the first phase of the park, the owners still are seeking funding sources to rebuild Starliner, the 1963 John Allen-designed woodie that closed with Miracle Strip in 2004, then operated from 2007-2008 at Cypress Gardens in Winter Haven. The Meeks are working with a national sponsor and hope to gain support from the Bay County Tourist Development Council.

The rebuilding of Starliner is expected to begin in 2014, with the expectation of having it up and running the following spring. Once the coaster is rebuilt, it will be the oldest wooden roller coaster in Florida and the only coaster on Florida's Gulf Coast.

To help defray the estimated $3 million cost of rebuilding Starliner, personalized bricks are being offered for sale that will be placed in the walkway to the coaster. The owners say the sale of the bricks is "just to commemorate that it's going to take a lot of people to get this coaster built." Most of the original parts of the coaster are in good condition, having been in storage since Legoland Florida took over the operation of the Cypress Gardens site. Starliner will be built as close to the original design as possible.

To learn more about purchasing a commemorative brick, click here.

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* Lee Ann Draud
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* Rus Ozana
ACE News Now Editor

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