‘Putting’ golf on Marco Island: Planning Board hears first of two mini-golf proposals

Petitioner Ronald Smith addresses Marco's Planning Board on his proposed miniature golf course. The board met Friday morning in the city council chambers next to City Hall. Lance Shearer/Eagle Correspondent

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Petitioner Ronald Smith addresses Marco's Planning Board on his proposed miniature golf course. The board met Friday morning in the city council chambers next to City Hall. Lance Shearer/Eagle Correspondent

— Apparently, the members of the city’s Planning Board are ready to putt a round.

As their first order of business Friday, the Planning Board took up miniature golf. They heard from one – make that two – proposed miniature golf facilities.

The agenda called for them to hear from petitioner Ronald Smith, on his plan to build a miniature golf course on Park Avenue. Before they did, though, local attorney Fred Kramer addressed the group, pushing his separate proposal, to open a mini-golf links called Marco Golf & Garden, to be located on Winterberry Drive adjacent to Sasso’s Restaurant.

“We’re concerned the city might say there should only be one miniature golf course” on the island, said Kramer. “If the city says only one, it should be the better of the two.” Kramer’s petition is scheduled to be considered by the Planning Board at their next meeting.

Board member Irv Povlow questioned whether they had jurisdiction over how many such businesses would be permitted on the island. No, said city attorney Burt Saunders.

“The proper location is the issue. The number of miniature golf courses is not a relevant issue.”

Board members seemed eager to greenlight Smith’s project, offering suggestions on additional revenue sources such as food, and granting hours of operation longer than had been requested for Putting Thru Paradise. Smith had asked for 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., and the board pushed it forward to 8 a.m., perhaps because early morning tee times are prized at country clubs.

They also amended the petition to allow the business to stay open later when the city is holding special events at Veterans’ Community Park, adjacent to the facility. In addition, as Smith said his research shows the majority of revenue for mini-golf comes in after dinner, the course will not have to douse the lights at 10 p.m., but can accept golfers up till that time.

“We want this to be successful,” said board member Marv Needles. “If they want to add sandwiches, why not?”

“I’d like to see it done with maximum flexibility,” said member Monte Lazarus.

City of Marco zoning administrator Joe Irvin noted that all comments received had been in favor of the golf course, and a stack of email printouts to that effect were included with the planning board’s information packet.

“I think it’s a wonderful idea,” added vice chairman Jack Patterson, chairing the meeting in the absence of chairman Dick Shanahan. There were questions about screening vegetation, the 15-foot tower/waterfall proposed, and the need and location for a dumpster, as well as the use of coated chain link fence, which could only be used in that area if a variance is granted.

Smith said after the meeting he has spent his career in the automotive industry, making parts for the Big Three carmakers, and has lived on Marco Island since 2001. He hopes to open his business in a year, coinciding with the fall opening of the Farmers’ Market at Veterans’ Park.

Smiths’ petition was approved unanimously, and goes on the City Council. Kramer’s petition will be taken up by the Planning Board on Jan. 6.

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Comments » 12

Throat_Yogurt writes:

there should only be one. Bring back the DQ with putt putt lol!!

ed34145 writes:

Honky Tonk, here we come!

Mayor_McCheese writes:

It is about time. If it is tastefully done, it will be a great addition to Marco. If you have kids and spent any significant time on Marco, you know what I mean.

Most patrons wont come onto Marco just for the mini golf, but it will entertain people who are already here.

Unless you want to go to have ice cream, or go to the movies, there is NOTHING to do on Marco after dinner if you have kids or if you just want to do what is fairly common in most resort locations.

captnjimbo writes:

City has ample park space...why not lease some of it to two different operators...eliminates the "honky tonk" aformentioned...gives a new activity for old and young and provides some revenue to the parks department. Make the lease no more than five years with option for city to renew at their discretion.

islandgma writes:

I have always thought a DQ would be a great addition to Marco. A nice inexpensive ice cream. It's about time Marco starts thinking about the status of the economy and if they truly want more visitors, they need to be more in touch.

Throat_Yogurt writes:

in response to islandgma:

I have always thought a DQ would be a great addition to Marco. A nice inexpensive ice cream. It's about time Marco starts thinking about the status of the economy and if they truly want more visitors, they need to be more in touch.

Replace the Irish Pelican shhhiittt hole in the corner of Mission parking lot with a DQ!

Mayor_McCheese writes:

"Have you no TV set? Anyway a miniature golf facilities is nothing else than another bad investment. Has the same attraction like the new brewery. Bug start and nothing else. This idea has no future."

I agree that the brewery is a bad idea. Mini golf is something else. It is something everyone can participate in and is not restricted by age. Very family friendly entertainment, but also a good date activity. The brewery is just another bar. Also, mini golf is fairly inexpensive and good for groups so this will attract people visiting the hotels as well as people renting condos and houses, as well as people who live here year round - particularly when people come to visit. Some people will come on to the island in the evening from Naples because there is only one mini golf in Naples - all the way until you get to Ft. Myers. It is a surprisingly under served market. That will be good for the ice cream parlors on the island.

All good. Nothing bad. Stop complaining.

naples_rocket writes:

in response to islandgma:

I have always thought a DQ would be a great addition to Marco. A nice inexpensive ice cream. It's about time Marco starts thinking about the status of the economy and if they truly want more visitors, they need to be more in touch.

huh? Are you suggesting that Marco government should open DQ?

Northerner writes:

DQ all the way!!

mahiman writes:

A mini golf course next to Sassos is too disruptive to the neighborhood and the Jewish Synagogue! Profitable???? No way! This isn't mini golf friendly. That's a poor business strategy. Disrupt the neighborhood and go out of business in a year! The one at Veterans Park is a better fit.

seasonala writes:

"Nothing to do on this island" are you kidding? Have you seen the swimming pools, the parks, the beaches, the tennis courts, the fishing, the movies,the museum, the shopping, the library, the weather? Children and adults alike who live and visit this island can have a full schedule of activities available to them if they choose to participate. It is sad if someone needs a mini golf on this island paradise to occupy their time.

20andout writes:

Great Idea, Marco Needs more to do for kids!!

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