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Amusement Firms Join Casualties Of $1 Billion Tennessee Flood

Posted On: 5/11/2010

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Tennessee floods, Riverside Family Fun World, family entertainment center, FEC, arcade

NASHVILLE -- The Grand Ole Opry, central shrine of country music, sustained serious water damage and the Opryland Hotel and Convention Center were said to be "under water ... like the Titanic," following historic floods that devastated the Volunteer State during the first week of May.

At least 30 people died as a result of flooding in Tennessee, Kentucky and Mississippi. Tenn. Gov. Phil Bredesen said $1 billion in damage is a conservative estimate for his state alone. Making matters worse, many property owners probably lack flood insurance, said Bredesen.

Amusement industry firms sustained their share of damage. One high-profile example was Riverside Family Fun World (Old Hickory, TN), just north of Nashville. The large FEC boasted an arcade, batting cages, go-kart track and miniature golf course. The flood's 12-ft.-high waters covered the grounds and nearly obscured several tall buildings.

"The business belonged to my two sons," the father of the FEC operators wrote on an Internet site. "Obviously, it is now gone. The water is receding, but the damage has been done. Thankfully for us, none of our family or friends was hurt or among the 10 here in Nashville that lost their lives. We hope it's possible to rebuild." The FEC posted images on its Facebook page.