Granger mini-golf course aims for spring opening
Groundbreaking set for Granger project
GRANGER — After trying his best to address neighbors’ concerns about traffic, lighting and noise, John Miller says construction is set to begin on his ninja-themed miniature golf course with Japanese-inspired landscaping.
To mark the occasion, a groundbreaking ceremony will be at 2 p.m. today at the future site of Ninja Golf!, in Granger on Indiana 23 east of Bittersweet Road.
The 3.5-acre vacant site, next to Journey Church, will be transformed to feature three 9-hole courses, totaling 27 holes. Miller hopes to open the business before students go on spring break in April, although he admits that could be out of reach.
Among other things, the Japanese-themed business will feature a 3,200-square-foot clubhouse with a laser-maze course, video-game lounge, ice cream parlor and small movie theater.
Customers will walk under a traditional Japanese gate before playing the courses. Among other things, they’ll notice a Japanese koi pond and gardens. And they’ll hear Japanese music while playing.
“Miniature golf is very Americana, and we want to wrap it in an exotic Japanese shell so it’s like the Far East meets the Midwest,” said Miller, whose three children inspired him to pursue the project.
The path to breaking ground on the $1.5 million project hasn’t been easy for Miller, who took steps to accommodate neighbors’ concerns.
The project stirred opposition among several residents from Streamwood Villas, a nearby wooded subdivision. They contended the business will be a noisy eyesore and cause traffic problems, saying the road already has too much traffic and is vulnerable to crashes.
In February, several opponents urged the St. Joseph County Council to deny a zoning change that was needed for the project. They were disappointed when the council voted 6-2 to approve the change.
David Garcia, who lives near the site, said after the February meeting that the council disregarded residents’ concerns and “arbitrarily decided that they knew better than we did.”
For his part, Miller has tried to clarify misconceptions about the project. He has agreed, for example, to not expand the business to include go-karts, batting cages or a driving range. And the business won’t feature any Las Vegas-style lighting.
“The lighting will be at head height and ground level so the course is featured, and it won’t bother the neighbors,” he said. “We won’t have any big, fluorescent-type lighting.”
As for noise, Miller said, the outdoor sound system won’t be heard from afar. And he noted that trees and wetlands were preserved at the back of the property, which will feature a nature walk.
Miller plans to hire about a dozen employees to run the seasonal business, which will be open seven days a week with operating hours usually from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. It will remain open until the end of October, reopening in the spring. And in the off-season, it will be available to rent for special events.
Miller thinks the Granger area will benefit from the fun destination, which he expects will draw 30 to 50 customers on weekdays and 50 to 100 on weekend days.
“It’s something we don’t have in our community and that people of all ages, from 3 to 103, can have a fun time with,” he said.
Source: South Bend Tribune