Jurassic course slated for relocation
A fancy new office building may be edging out Nick’s Jurassic Golf on 18th Street, but the course is likely not going far.
At a planning commission meeting Tuesday, owner Nick Geracimos presented plans to build a new, similar 18-hole course one block to the north on 19th Street.
Geracimos had already bought the property, an empty parking lot that previously served the former Phillips property across the street, and has now cleared the first hurdle to getting project approval with a favorable recommendation for a conditional use from the planning commission.
The project plans call for a new and improved course at 1901 Philadelphia Avenue. Geracimos, who owns and operates eight mini golf courses in Ocean City, Fenwick Island, and Dewey and Bethany beaches, said the new course will lean heavily into the family theme, which has taken over as the primary element in his other projects. He said the 18th Street course today attracts about 90 percent families as its clientele, and he expects the same breakdown for the new one.
The new project will also be safer and more accessible, with a crosswalk and stoplight positioned at Dolphin Street where it will be built. Geracimos contends it will be a better neighbor than the existing course as well.
Right now, as Jurassic Golf was formed from an existing course and not built by Geracimos, the lighting and music elements were already in place and created some friction with the residential neighbors. The lights shine into the street and closer to the homes surrounding the course, and the music has larger speakers that amplify the sound.
In the new project, Geracimos said he will ensure the lights point toward the course, and not the street or residential neighborhood, and that the music is distributed better to prevent sound from carrying. He will also have more parking spaces than the other project and plans to build it on a bigger footprint. He has constructed three other courses, and said he will piggyback off elements of those locations.
During Tuesday’s meeting, several neighbors spoke up with concerns about noise, lighting, parking and buffers, while others voiced support.
Local attorney Hugh Cropper, who represented Geracimos at the hearing, said some of the concerns will be addressed during the site plan phase of the project. He added that everything within the conditional use request cleared the correct hurdles, though, as no one objected to the mini golf course as a use at that property, in that zoning district.
The mayor and City Council will make the final decision on the conditional use request, before planning commissioners addresses more details and issue final approval during the site plan phase.