Newport News Video Arcade, Mini Golf Looking to Relocate to Grafton is your source for free news and information in Williamsburg, James City & York Counties.

A rendering of the new Play A Round Golf & Games (Courtesy Wesley Cowan)
A rendering of the new Play A Round Golf & Games (Courtesy Wesley Cowan)

The owner of an amusement center is looking to bring his business to Route 17.

York County planning commissioners will vote Wednesday on whether to recommend allowing Play A Round Golf & Games to move to a 3.6-acre site on Route 17 in Grafton, down the street from the Washington Square Shopping Center.

The county’s zoning ordinance requires anyone wishing to build an arcade and amusement center to apply for a special-use permit that entails an application fee and two public hearings. One of the public hearings will be held before the Planning Commission at its meeting Wednesday, which is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. in York Hall.

Though the Planning Commission will offer a recommendation on whether the special-use permit should be granted, the York County Board of Supervisors will have the final say on whether the amusement center can operate on Route 17.

Wesley Cowan, the owner of Play A Round Golf & Games, has planned for the amusement center to be built in two phases. Phase one would consist of the golf course, the arcade building and parking. A go-kart track would be built in phase two within 12 to 18 months of phase one’s completion.

Cowan said Play A Round Golf & Games closed its location in Warwick Village Shopping Center on Warwick Boulevard after 43 years at the end of October. Cowan sold the property to the City of Newport News, which turned it into a parking lot for the UPS facility also located in the shopping center.

He chose the Route 17 location after an “exhaustive search” around the Peninsula.

“I recognize there’s a void in this area for family entertainment,” he said, adding he hopes to bring the “stellar reputation” he achieved at the Newport News location to York County.

The proposed video arcade would sit in a 7,520 square-foot building and would have at least 40 games, a “state-of-the-art” laser tag arena, a small snack bar area and seating for about 20 people, Cowan said in a letter to the York County Planning Division.

The outdoor amusement center would include 36 holes of miniature golf and 12 “environmentally friendly” electric go-karts that “create almost no noise, except a pleasant high-pitched whine like an F-1 racecar,” Cowan wrote.

Cowan said the purchase of the land at 5001 and 5201 George Washington Memorial Highway is contingent on the Board of Supervisors’ approval of the special-use permit. If the permit is approved, Cowan expects the first phase of the amusement center to be completed and open to the public six months after construction begins.

The York County planning staff recommended approving the application in a March 31 memorandum to the Planning Commission.