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City Looking to Turn Dilapidated Mini-Golf Course into Amusement Park

By Nicholas Rizzi | July 24, 2013 4:55pm
 The city has put out request for proposals to restore and renovate the former Safari Amusement Center in Staten Island on Tuesday.
Safari Amusement Center
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NEW SPRINGVILLE — The city is looking to turn a dilapidated mini-golf course on Staten Island into a new amusement park, officials said.

The city's Parks Department put out an request for proposal on Tuesday to restore, renovate and maintain the shuttered Safari Amusement Center, on 855 Arthur Kill Rd.

The aim is to turn the space into a new amusement center, something residents in the South Shore have been clamoring for, said Mike Schnall, Chief of Staff for Parks, who grew up near the site.

“Overwhelming people want it activated, they want to be able to use it, Schnall said. “There’s no outdoor recreation facility of that type in the South Shore.

"There’s a desire to have something close to home.”

The former amusement park, which closed in 2008, had a mini-golf course, batting cage, bumper cars and boats, and a snack stand, but now is covered with weeds.

Parks said that they’re not necessarily trying to restore the site to what it used to be, but are looking at new options for the site, which may include a climbing wall or other activities kids would want.

The agency hoped to avoid a lengthy RFP process at the site, and in 2011 planned to install a new skate park at the site. However, Parks couldn't find an organization to run and build the park, so they scrapped the plan.

A previous RFP put out for the restuarant building, which is connected to the park, has already been awarded, though Parks has not announced what business will be taking over the crumbling building.

Aside from the RFP, the agency will also widen the parking area to create more spaces and make it easier for cars to get in and out of the site. A major reason the original Safari Amusement Center failed was because drivers had difficulty getting in and out onto the busy Arthur Kill Road, Parks said.

Parks will hold a meeting and walk through of the area for potential developers on Aug. 13 at 11:30 a.m.