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Abandoned driving range up for bid

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Morris Park residents will be pleased to learn that an abandoned golf center, which many felt had become a notorious eyesore, could soon become a functioning business again.

MTA Real Property took back the complex in May when the prior tenant defaulted on their lease, and now MTA spokesperson Aaron Donovan says that they will issue a request for proposals this month to find a replacement tenant.

“We’re assessing the property, and responses will be due in early September,” said Donovan. “Our goal is to have a new facility open by late winter or early spring of next year.”

The large driving range and entertainment complex at 1825 E. Gun Hill Road has changed hands a number of times in years past. For a while, it was called Family Golf Center, Inc., though the most recent sign, still standing above the parking lot, reads Bronx Golf Center.

It sits across the street from a large Home Depot, Chuck E. Cheese’s, and TGI Friday’s.

Since the time it closed for business in January, the property has become somewhat delapidated.

Overgrown, untamed grass is the least of concerns at a site that seems to have been vandalized, with shattered glass everywhere, and broken signs and warped ceiling panels left untouched.

In addition, a number of mice and raccoons occupy the trashcans and bushes near what was the entrance to the business. Inside, electrical wiring and lighting fixtures lie broken on the floor.

“People in the community are very concerned about that place, because it’s not being maintained,” said Carmen Rosa, district manager of Community Board 12. “It’s unsightly, and it hurts to see, especially since you have good businesses across the street.”

“I’ve worked here for four years and never once seen anyone come in here with golf clubs,” said Basa, a waitress at Pelham Bay Diner across the street. “I’ve never seen much activity there at all.”

Michael Cunningham, who lives only a few blocks away on Allerton Road, disagrees. “I saw people golfing there as recently as last summer,” he said. “But at this point is does look run-down.”

Locals have scratched their heads for some time wondering why the site has never become an enduring facility with any staying power. It was learned that the MTA is eyeing the property for their own future use.

“It’s difficult to build a permanent structure on that location,” said Donovan, “because we may, at some point down the road, use that site for transportation purposes.”

Donovan did say, however, on behalf of the MTA, that at least for the next owner, they hope and expect to find someone who would use the site for “a similar purpose as what it’s been,” in other words, a golf and entertainment center.

One that residents hope will last longer and serve the neighborhood well.

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