Mini-golf making a comeback?
Bayonne revs up recreation options
by Rory Pasquariello
Reporter staff writer
May 30, 2018 | 2789 views | 0 0 comments | 321 321 recommendations | email to a friend | print
GOLF
A new mini-golf course may be coming to the area of 16th Street Park after the last one closed down three years ago.
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Bayonne has a world-class golf club, but golf is not one of the city’s favorite sports—the initiation fee for the Bayonne Golf Club is more than five times the town’s median household income. Suffice it to say, locals are not teeing off at the gorgeous, windswept links atop the hill overlooking the water.

But mini-golf? That’s a different story. The city’s last mini-golf course fell on hard times and closed three years ago to make way for what would become the new RWJ Barnabas Health on Broadway.

Now, city officials are hoping to bring in a new mini-golf course in the area of 16th Street Park instead of the old midtown location, which was virtually hidden on Del Monte Drive and 23rd Street.The Bayonne City Council in April put out bids for a company to build the course, but bids came back too high. That means nothing is certain, but city officials remain hopeful.

The course would join the rest of Bayonne’s recreational amenitieson the city’s western shore and would be located across from the pool. Sixteenth Street Park will soon connect to Bayonne High School, Hudson County Park, and Rutkowski Park via a walkway that was announced last month, with the blessing of NJ Gov. Phil Murphy.

“I don’t think mini golf paid off for us,” said Second Ward Councilman Sal Gullace.“We were losing money on it.” That course charged $3 for a game, but had trouble attracting people.

“Most people didn’t know that a mini-golf course was there,” said First Ward Councilman Tommy Cotter, whose ward would inherit the new facility. “The park setting is definitely a better place for it.”

“There’s not much to do in this town,” said Gullace, who is in favor of creating more activities for residents. “I think we would have fun with this one,and I think my kids will go now that they’re older. We’re trying to start [more recreation activities] and get to that next point.”

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“The parks are very busy with the pool, playground, our basketball courts, and all the fields down below. So, mini golf would be a great attraction, a great addition.” – Pete Amadeo

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Child’s Play

“The parks are very busy with the pool, playground, our basketball courts, and all the fields down below. So, mini golf would be a great attraction, a great addition,” said Pete Amadeo, who runs the city’s expanding youth programs, many of which take place at 16th Street Park. “I go down and see how much the kids enjoy it andwish we had this when I was young.”

Amadeo started as a camp counselor in Bayonne at the age of 14. Now in his 30s, Amadeo runs the show. Two years ago, he helped launch the city’s summertime Ultimate Sports program at Veterans Stadium and the ice rink at Bayonne High School, which had more than 200 attendees last year and has been increasing in participation each year. He said the Ultimate Sports programhas become the most popular.

“Itreally is ultimate sports,” Amadeo said.“We have everything going on.”

The city’s recreation programs use everything Bayonne has to offer, including the ice rink, the dance studio, the turf fields at Veterans Stadium, the pool, basketball courts, tennis courts, playgrounds, sprinklers, and more.

“We try adding new things every year to our camps,” Amadeo said.“It’s our busiest program.”

The value of recreation programs in the summer goes well beyond merely giving something for kids to do while their parents are at work.

“We do a lot of sports here and activities that are tremendous, but what I see most is how these children build friendships and that’s very important,” Amadeo said.“We build confidence. I see all the time when kids come, in and they’re shy and hesitant. After a few weeks, they’re excited to come in every day.”

For grown-ups

Improved recreation activities in the city are not just for kids. Many residents head down to the area of 16th Street Park to use the pool for fitness or attend sporting events, such as baseball and soccer games.

“Tired of swimming in the pool? Play a round of mini golf,” Cotter said.“Don’t want to watch the baseball game? Play a round. I think it’s a more conducive spot for use. Plus, there’s parking.”

Rory Pasquariello can be reached at roryp@hudsonreporter.com.

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