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New mini-golf, family fun center coming to Grand Island

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A new “family entertainment center” is coming to Grand Island.

Castaways will feature mini-golf, duckpin bowling, laser tag, redemption arcade and more, said project developer Brad Kissler.

Construction aims to start on Nov. 1.

The undeveloped property, roughly 5.6 acres, is located at the corner of Faidley Avenue and Claude Road.

The project will include a 20,000 square foot building and 100-plus parking spaces. Kissler expects to have nine full-time employees and 50 to 60 part-time employees.

The total project is expected to cost $7.3 million.

The project is a personal one for Kissler, he said at the Sept. 21 meeting of the Community Redevelopment Authority.

“It’s been a dream of mine to own a facility like this,” he said. “I finished a career recently as a licensed architect. I’ve got very young children. This came about through our travels with young children and having an older stepdaughter. Invariably, when we found places to go as a family, they were these types of facilities.”

He added, “It’s a way for us create family experiences and have fun together.”

A redevelopment plan for the site was approved by CRA to forward to the Regional Planning Commission.

The project is pursuing nearly $1.9 million in tax increment financing for expenses, including purchase of the property, which is eligible, and redevelopment costs.

The area was declared “blighted and substandard” by the Grand Island City Council on Sept. 28, 2021.

City of Grand Island is also developing the site.

An expansion of Claude Road between Faidley Avenue and State Street is planned.

Both projects will be taking place at the same time.

“This is for two projects,” explained Regional Planning Director Chad Nabity on Sept. 21. “One, a private project to support the development of the entertainment center and the various TIF eligible expenses there, and a second project that CRA would enter into a contract with City of Grand Island for the development of Claude Road within that corridor and paying the TIF as it comes into the city.”

The expansion of Claude Road is the key reason that the area was declared blighted, noted Nabity.

For Castaways, TIF support is not the only thing needed. It is critical that the project starts on or about Nov. 1 to be completed by March 1, 2024.

A representative for Kissler and KER Enterprises explained that while construction will start in November, if it does not receive TIF support it will likely be abandoned.

CRA members voiced support for the project, saying such a site is needed.

Under “Justification of Project” in the CRA’s agenda information: “Family entertainment options are somewhat limited in Grand Island and this has been exacerbated with the loss of Skate Island. This is an opportunity to encourage new uses that will increase tourism opportunities and capture local entertainment dollars.”

The redevelopment plan will go to Regional Planning Commission before going to Grand Island City Council on Oct. 25.

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