2019-01-18 / Front Page

Raptor Falls extension approved

By Abigail Worthing Staff Writer

The Arundel Planning Board, prior to its Jan. 10 meeting, granted an extension so that Raptor Falls appplicants can resolve deed issues. (Dan King photo) The Arundel Planning Board, prior to its Jan. 10 meeting, granted an extension so that Raptor Falls appplicants can resolve deed issues. (Dan King photo) ARUNDEL – Deed complications have forced dinosaur mini-golf course Raptor Falls to request another extension from the Arundel planning board.

Raptor Falls, the proposed miniature golf course with a prehistoric theme, is anticipated to become a new attraction along a stretch of Route 1 as soon as this summer, pending planning board approval.

Bree and Cliff Gajtkowski, both Arundel residents, are proposing the project. The couple spawned the idea a year and half ago, inspired by the burgeoning economic growth in Arundel. The parcel of land being purchased for the course was formerly Fritz’s Tire, an Arundel landmark of 44 years prior to its 2016 closing.

The project has appeared in front of the planning board four times, on Sept. 27, Nov. 8, Nov. 29, and a site walk was held Oct. 13. At the Nov. 29 meeting, the team was granted a 30-day extension to remedy a discrepancy with the deed. While the project was scheduled to appear be- fore the planning board during the Thursday, Jan. 10 meeting, the team was granted another extension in the days prior after there had yet to be a resolution.

According to Mr. Gajtkowski, there is an easement built into the deed for the 8-acre property at 1912 Portland Road. The current deed holders have agreed to alter the terms in order for the project to proceed, however the process is taking longer than anticipated.

“My understanding is that they’re pretty much already done fixing it, they just didn’t get it done in time for the cutoff to make this week’s meeting,” Gajtkowski clarified via email. “We’re going to have to wait until the next meeting for a vote on the project.”

The project is now anticipated to present at the Jan. 24 meeting, on the condition the deed is resolved.

The Gajtkowskis have the property under contract, the sale contingent on the approval of the project. The property is assessed at $195,600.

The couple has taken out a business loan to bring their plan to fruition, and has estimated that the eventual costs will total about $1.2 million, which includes permits. The Maine Department of Transportation has given its approval to allow patrons to enter and exit the property directly on Route 1.

To gain approval, a few adjustments remain, including minimizing the amount of light created by the project.

The course will include dinosaurs as the primary attraction to the property, with a mix of both stationary and animatronic creatures. The couple is waiting to purchase the dinosaurs until they secure planning board approval, but they have begun pricing models with multiple distributors, with dinosaurs ranging in price from $1,000 to $10,000 for smaller models such as a stryracosaurus or triceratops, and to big ticket $20,000 for a tyrannosaurus rex according to mydinosaurs.com. The animatronic dinosaurs will be the showstoppers of the park, able to perform actions such as opening their eyes, swinging their heads, planting their tails and appearing to breathe, providing an experience unlike any in the area.

The project will include log bridges and a water feature, with falls cascading from the top of the park to a pool near the entrance.

As part of the conditions, the team was required to ensure the features would not bother neighbors, which includes Cape Arundel Cottage Preserve.

The course will have a clubhouse in the footprint of the former Fritz’s Tire building, where patrons will pick up equipment. It will also serve as the gateway to the course. Inside the clubhouse will be a selection of concessions with a proposed ice cream shop.

During the Nov. 29 meeting, multiple members of the planning board expressed interest in seeing the project move forward. Should the Jan. 24 meeting end with a vote in favor of the project, the couple could break ground in spring. According to Gajtkowski, the project timeline is six-weeks, which leaves the couple optimistic the course could be open for almost a full 2019 season. Contact Staff Writer Abigail Worthing at news@inthepost.com.

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