New Britain City Journal

New Britain's Weekly Online Newspaper


City Looks to Finance $1M for Family Entertainment

The City is looking to hire a consulting firm to perform a market analysis for three acres of land on the corner of Hartford Road and the proposed Costco parking lot for five entertainment features including miniature golf, electric go-karts, bumper boats, softball and baseball batting cages, and paintball target near Stanley Golf Course.

The total investment required to start is approximately $1.5 million to construct the Action Zone and $1 million to move the maintenance garage. This includes site design and construction, miniature golf course design and build, equipment purchase, and working capital.

The financing for the initial startup costs include $1.5 million from the sale of property and $1 million from bank financing. The City will finance the $1 million at approximately 5 percent interest over ten years.

The Public Works Department hopes to contract a family entertainment center consultant to perform a market analysis. This market analysis will include a survey and market statistical information of the surrounding competition. The consultant will provide revenue estimates and projections on the return of investments. In addition, the consultant will review submitted designs during the bid process.

The Common Council wants to hire Sheryl Bindelglass of SherylGolf for $7,500 as a consultant.

“I think we would appreciate Mr. (Bill) DeMaio coming before us and giving us more color around what the long term plan is before we launch in this sum of $7,500 for the planning stages for these professional services,” said Alderwoman Suzanne Bielinski. “I think we would like a picture as this is the first time the council has gotten it.”

The Council approved referring the idea to the Consolidating Committee.

“We really don’t know what effect this will have on the golf course,” said Alderwoman Shirley Black.

According to action zone business plan from the City, “Family Entertainment is a highly profitable industry that has been growing rapidly over the past several years. This is largely due to a trend within the country of a return to family values. Families are spending more time together and are looking for alternative recreational activities to participate in together. In light of recent events and perceived dangers of travel, families are looking more and more in their own areas for these recreational activities. The Action Zone at Stanley Golf Course is being created to fill this niche in the Central Connecticut area.”

The activities available at the Action Zone at Stanley Golf Course will center on a world class, natural looking miniature golf course, a family electric go-kart track, batting cages (softball and baseball), a bumper boat pool, and paintball target amusement. The construction period will take approximately ten months. The City will go out to bid to hire a qualified contractor that specializes in this area.

In addition, an assortment of snacks will be available at the concessions stand.

The action plan says, “the location of Action Zone at Stanley Golf Course is a key factor. Located on the corner of Hartford Road and the proposed Costco parking lot, just off of Route 9, the site is heavily traveled and has several other businesses including Westfarms, Corbins Corner and West Farms Shopping Center within a few miles that will provide great synergies. Hartford County, with its approximate population of 894,705 people, is the perfect location of the Action Zone.”

The facility will be administered by the Public Works Department utilizing staff from the recreation division and the golf division. It will be owned and operated by the City who will take the primary responsibility of working with contractors to design and develop the facility, and who will be responsible for the day-to-day operational responsibilities.

Perimeter fencing, lighting, alarm systems, and security cameras will be installed to deter vandalism.

Action Park will employ many of the already trained seasonal staff from the recreation division that already work at the Willow Brook concessions and Rock Cats parking events. The operation will run for 12 hours per day, 7 days a week, from May 1st to Oct. 1st. In addition, teenage and/or senior aged people will be employed to help during peak demand times. These employees will act as course “rangers”; assisting customers, helping at the concession stand, and maintaining a clean look to the business.