Slouching Toward Opryland: Online Group Wants Opry Mills a Theme Park Again

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I believe it may have been Jung who observed that survivors of a major flood often develop Zweitklassigenthemenparksnostalgie, the communal desire to reconstruct the second-rate theme parks they frequented as children. Sure enough, that's just what's happening.

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Since last week, more than 27,000 Facebook members have joined a group called "Let's build Opryland where Opry Mills once stood!," affirming their dedication “to the hope of watching Opry Mills float down the Cumberland River like a portable classroom!” When flood waters filled the mega-mall that sits next to the Gaylord Opryland Resort, a primal wave of nostalgia seems to have welled up in the populace for Opryland USA, which operated at the site from 1972 until 1997.

Nearly 2,000 people have joined up just since Monday afternoon. Many seem well aware that Mills owner Simon Property Group has firmly committed to reopen the mall and is already busily proceeding with recovery and repair work. Ben Eads, the Murfreesboro resident who created the Facebook site and a separate online petition drive, appears to be a realist himself. Responding to an online critic who labeled the site "delusional," Eads acknowledged that his dream would proabably not come true at the location of the old park. But he can still hope.

"Somewhere there is a capital investment group, or another theme park, or somebody's rich uncle that will see this show of support and know that Nashville is the right place to invest their money," Eads wrote.

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