IPSWICH — Rob Bouley, the owner of White Farms Ice Cream, is hoping to build an 18-hole miniature golf course on his land on Route 133.
But it won’t be the type of course with themed obstacles and clown faces, he said.
“It is a little more of a competitive and challenging course,” Bouley said. “It will really be landscaped good and will have areas where the ball can go into the water, sand traps and rough.”
Such destination mini-golf courses are popular at Richardson’s Ice Cream in Middleton and Kimball Farm in Westford. Many families from the Ipswich area make the trek to Middleton to go mini-golfing, Bouley said.
He said the course will be a good addition to the ice cream stand and Sal’s Pizza at the location now and will create another family-friendly activity in town.
“I think we sort of lack that,” said Bouley, who lives in Rowley. “If you are staying local, it’s a good activity for families and high school students.”
White Farms, with its signature cow on the roof, has been a popular destination in town since it opened in 1953. Bouley has owned it for about 14 years, he said.
The plans will be presented during a public hearing at the Planning Board meeting tomorrow night at 7:30. Bouley needs a special permit and a site plan review to move forward with the project, which includes improved parking and lighting to operate at night. A waiver is being sought to reduce the number of parking spots from 54 to 50, according to the application.
Planner Director Glenn Gibbs said such an approval typically takes between 60 and 90 days for the board to review all the details, but he doesn’t expect any issues.
“It is a popular use we had in town in the past, but not for a couple of years,” Gibbs said. “It is an activity I believe that will be welcomed.”
Tee Time Miniature Golf and Driving Range on Route 1 closed several years ago. There are now plans before the Planning Board for a Tractor Supply Co., a major farm and lawn retailer, to be built at that location.
If the project is approved, Bouley hopes the course will be built in time to open this spring.
Bouley said he had kicked the idea around after hearing his high school workers say there is nothing to do in town. As a father of two boys, Bouley said he understands the frustration.
“There is no bowling alley, and the other mini-golf course closed,” he said. “They kind of got me going on it.”
Bouley said the course would take about 45 minutes to play. Plans drawn up by Ipswich’s H.L. Graham Associates and Harris Miniature Golf Courses of New Jersey show the winding course with four ponds, spray fountains, sand traps and elaborate landscaping. Bouley and the architect are working on developing more detailed plans for lighting, landscaping and signs, according to the application.
Bouley will also have to file an application with the state transportation department for curb cut modifications, according to the application.
Bouley said the course will bring eight to 10 new part-time jobs, and he plans to host family nights and fundraisers for local organizations.
After 18 holes, mini-golfers will have a chance to win a free ice cream cone, Bouley said. If the shot is missed, the ball will disappear.
So far, there hasn’t been any opposition.
“The reaction has been great,” Bouley said. “Everyone I’ve talked to has said it is a great idea and that there is a need.”