Ground Breaking for New Miracle Strip at Pier Park

PANAMA CITY BEACH - The owners of Miracle Strip at Pier Park are about to take a huge leap forward.

Friday they broke ground on their new location, right across the street from Pier Park.

The original Miracle Strip Amusement Park is truly a treasured piece of Bay County's history.

For 40 years the attraction entertained, thrilled and even scared hundreds of thousands of visitors.

However, that all came to an end in 2004, when the Lark family sold the property to a condo developer.

The individual rides went to other amusement parks across the country and a local couple ended up with some of the rides.

They've been operating at Pier Park for the last 5 years now.

They plan to bring back the original Miracle Strip's featured attraction, the Starliner roller coaster, the oldest wooden roller coaster in Florida.

Local disc jockey, Jim King rode the Starliner to set the world record back in 1978 and 1980.

After Miracle Strip closed, Cypress Gardens in central Florida bought it.

Then Legoland bought Cypress Gardens and decided to sell the Starliner.

That's when the Meeks bought it.

Since there's not enough space at Pier Park for all of the rides, the Meeks had to relocate.

Hudson Meeks is the Miracle Strip Park's General Manager said, "We looked right across the street and found a 10 acre plot of land that we could lease and then have opportunity to buy in the future. It was a no brainer."

Beach officials broke ground on the new park Friday morning.

The new Miracle Strip should be open by next April.

No doubt it will be popular with the young and old alike.

"We want to bring back some of that nostalgia that used to be had by the older generations of Panama City Beach. We want to pass that on to the younger generations," Meek said.

The Meeks say it will cost $3 million to refurbish and assemble the Starliner roller coast.

It might take a few years to get it up and running.