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Cedar Rapids City Council backs plans for mini-golf course

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The Cedar Rapids City Council unanimously approved plans for a mini-golf course that would give families a fun outdoor activity to do next year while also increasing the city’s revenue.

The city’s four golf courses — Ellis, Gardner, Twin Pines and Jones — have lost $1.54 million in the past six years. On average, it’s been a loss of about $256,540 per year.

Parks and Recreation Director Scott Hock told the city council on Tuesday that the revenue from the mini-golf course will not take away the full loss from the other golf courses but it will “help cover the gap.”

The mini-golf course would be built at the Twin Pines Golf Course and is estimated to cost $560,000, Hock said.

The 18-hole mini-golf course will have some holes that are easier and others that are more difficult, Hock said. The course will include a waterfall, photo spots and a rentable birthday party area. All 18 holes of the course will be ADA accessible, Hock said.

“It was designed that way which is a unique feature,” Hock said during Tuesday’s presentation. “The requirement is only to have nine of the holes, so we are excited to have all 18 holes designed this way. It goes along with the city’s desire to have accessible areas and the design up at Twin Pines now is, we have done ADA accessible [changes] to the clubhouse as well as the driving range.”

The mini-golf course would be between the Twin Pines clubhouse and parking lot. The same parking lot and utilities will be used for people using the mini-golf course as those who used the regular golf course. Hock also pointed out that the course will be close to the Twin Pines driving range and area schools.

The proposed ticket prices are $5 for toddlers, $6 for students, $8 for adults and $7 for seniors.

The city is estimating a yearly net revenue of $168,897 after adjusting for staffing costs. The estimate is based on 25 percent capacity, which is about 125 rounds per day, Hock said.

Councilmember Ann Poe said she had done her own research on mini-golf courses and that there is “not a very long timeframe for that return on investment.” The initial investment will take about three years to pay off, Hock said.

Councilmembers Ashley Vanorny and Patrick Loeffler both brought up how the proposed mini-golf course will bring something new to the city that has been missing since Chapman Fun World closed in 2001.

“I’m just happy to see something coming in that’s family-oriented,” Loeffler said.

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Poe also mentioned that she would like to see elements on the course that have to do with Cedar Rapids.

“I like the idea of having something unique that is Cedar Rapids, like our Tree of Five Seasons, engaged somehow,” Poe said. “Some of those kind of fun elements that have that wow factor.”


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