Traverse City Record-Eagle

July 17, 2013

Animated mini-golf courses slated for East Bay

By BRIAN McGILLIVARY bmcgillivary@record-eagle.com
Traverse City Record-Eagle

---- — TRAVERSE CITY — Arne Lundmark plans to return to a miniature golf site he ran more than 25 years ago to develop a show-piece course for his firm that designs and installs courses around the world.

Lundmark once ran Arne’s Fun Land on U.S. 31 just east of Three Mile Road, where he constructed a replica riverboat in about 1982. He sold the site a few years later when he began his design firm, but now has purchased the mostly vacant lot to anchor another boat. This one will be a three-story, 100-foot-long replica of Noah’s Ark that is populated by talking and moving “critters” garbed as tourists.

“We’re taking it to the next level, with more show, more interaction, and more fun,” Lundmark said. “There are going to be a lot of unique holes that have never been done before.”

The East Bay Township planning commission this month gave zoning approval to the Noah’s Adventure P-Ark project. The site also will host an elevated go-cart track with electric cars that will rise about 20 feet into the air near the highway with a roller coaster-like descent, plus an arcade and concessions.

No one spoke in opposition to the project, though representatives of the two other miniature golf and amusement parks on U.S. 31 attended the meetings, said Leslie Couturier, township zoning administrator.

A feasibility study showed there is more than enough business for all three parks and then some, Lundmark said. He’s lining up funding for the project and cautions he still has a couple of steps to go before he can begin construction in 2014.

The business will mark Lundmark’s return to a park operation. He stopped operating miniature golf and amusement parks in the mid-1980s when he formed Adventure Golf Services. The Traverse City-based company designs and constructs courses for cruise ships, malls, and amusement parks and branched into other amusement- and golf-related operations.

He expects the park to make money, but he also plans to market the marriage of large icons, such as an ark that will contain six holes for each course, with animated, talking critters that sport human characteristics.

“We had to come up with a model that we could showcase,” Lundmark said. “We had to make a statement.”