NEW MARKET For Larry Stottlemyer, building Adventure Park USA has been a dream come true.
Known by many area residents as the operator of the former Putt-Putt golf course and Diamond Pizza on Thomas Johnson Drive, Mr. Stottlemyer has been overseeing the construction of the $10.5 million Adventure Park USA on Baldwin Road since it began last September.
The new park, which will feature go-carts, miniature golf, Laser Tag and much more, is on schedule to open in time for summer business.
"We had looked at May 1, but it is probably going to be mid-May or the first of June," Mr. Stottlemyer said during a tour of the park, which is visible from I-70 East, just before the Md. 75 exit. "A grand opening is scheduled for June 11."
Like any project, the park has had its challenges. Besides weather and other expected challenges, Mr. Stottlemyer said the project had a major setback when the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which is handling the loan, had second thoughts.
As a man of faith, Mr. Stottlemyer said he knew it would work out. He and his wife, Angie, prayed at the 17 1/2 acre site. "I knew it was in God's hands. We were at peace," he said.
The loan came through, and each day Mr. Stottlemyer is at the project helping with some of the construction, though Waynesboro Construction is the main contractor.
The park will feature a rock climbing wall, an indoor rope course with eight elements, two go-cart tracks, bumper boats, 36 holes of golf, a paint ball arena, Laser Tag and a "soft play" area for small children.
"We will have 90 video games, a large redemption area (where participants can redeem coupons won on the games for prizes), a sit-down concession area for up to 80 guests, and five 'birthday' rooms for parties," he said. An outdoor pavilion can seat up to 200 guests.
The Old West theme will be carried throughout the park, including a "Funtier Land" area outside with a carousel, helicopter ride and electric cars for small children.
In the Family Entertainment Center, a 24,000-square-foot building, Mr. Stottlemyer and his family have done some of the work, including the Laser Tag area and the redemption center. "I have had a lot of help from my son, Erik, and son-in-law, Kevin Kauffman," he said. They will become managers at the park when it opens.
Mr. Stottlemyer will offer "corporate team-building" programs and expects visitors to the park from a 50-mile radius. "It will be a real showplace. There isn't anything else exactly like this in Maryland."
He emphasized that no skimping was done in the construction.
"If there was something I couldn't afford to do, I held off until I could afford it rather than not do it the best way. If someone came in and saw something done cheaply or skimping, it wouldn't look good for the park at all," Mr. Stottlemyer said.
The current park plan uses 12 acres of the site. Mr. Stottlemyer said the remainder will one day be "a full-blown" water park, "but that will be a few years away."
He has been flooded with applicants for jobs from human resources to concession and ride workers to maintenance.
"We will have a staff of 120, full- and part-time," he said.
Visitors will purchase a debit-card type pass that will be downloaded with the amount the visitor pays on it and can then be used for anything in the park except food.
"It is a good security measure because you don't have to worry about taking money out each time for a ride," he said.
Knowing that children could lose the card, the visitor can pay an extra $1.50 to "register" the card, and if it is lost the information on it can be tracked and any unused amount downloaded into another card.
"The cards don't expire, so someone can even leave the park and come back another time, and if they have money left on it, can use it on that next visit to the park," he said.
Security cameras will also be located throughout the park for the added safety of children.
Inside the main building, a nine-foot screen will show what's going on around the park.
For more information on the progress at the park, visit www.adventureparkusa.com.