As a recent transplant to Atlantic County with two kids in tow, it didn’t take long before I could join in with local parents, kids and – even – politicians lamenting how it can sometimes feel like there’s little to do around here when the beach isn’t an option. So imagine me, whiling away an evening reading some planning board minutes, when the name of a business looking for a resolution just jumps out at me: Trampoline Park Consulting.
Oh yes, I thought. THAT would make me happier. And my kids happier. And their friends and my friends and my family-in-law.
The company got planning permission to use the old haunted house site at the Hamilton Mall in December – but when were they going to open? No one seemed to know. So I tried to keep my mouth shut about it for a month while I did everything I could to track down the company from Utah that had come to a planning board meeting in the depths of a New Jersey winter to talk about whether a ninja obstacle course was a “permitted use.”
I am pretty darn pleased with myself to be able to say an official from Get Air Management called me on Monday to confirm her company fully intends to open a trampoline park at the Hamilton Convenience Center in the fall of 2017.
The site, off Route 322, will be fully refitted and the company is talking to its contractor about the changes needed to the building. Ashton Goodell, media and marketing manager at Get Air, said the company hopes it will be “a kind of a crown jewel on the East Coast for Get Air.” Along with a ninja obstacle course, dodgeball, a foam pit and wall-to-wall trampolines, this new Get Air facility – we can call it OUR trampoline park now, right? – will have some new features. “We think it’s a good opportunity for us because of the size of the building to add some new features we’ve never had in some of the other Get Airs,” Goodell said.
What else do you need to know?
The trampoline park will employ between 20-40 people who are known as lifeguards and trained in first aid and CPR, according to the planning minutes. Goodell assured me that safety is the company’s first priority.
The parks are very popular with kids ages five to 15, but they have separate areas for “little jumpers” under 46 inches and also some times of the week that are devoted to toddlers who want to explore the whole park.
It will be possible to hold birthday parties at the site and it will be open through late at the weekend. They don’t sell membership, you just pay for jumping time.
Why did the company choose Mays Landing?
Good question, apparently. Goodell said that one of Get Air’s managers is from the area and had worked out of King of Prussia, PA, but wanted to move home. The manager said that around Mays Landing would be perfect for Get Air because there’s nothing like it in the area and there’s high demand for family-friendly entertainment.
Goodell said that they went to look at some locations and did some market research and wound up at the Hamilton mall. “We’re really excited about the location,” she said.
I asked her whether she’s aware of the movement to retrofit dying suburban malls like ours and she said that Get Air has some pretty specific elements that it needs to look for – high ceilings for one thing – so it has retrofitted a range of different properties (warehouses, for example) as a result.
In the Hamilton Township planning board minutes there was some talk about whether or not allowing a trampoline park might open the door to more “expanded” property uses in the area. Although the planning board members seemed intrigued and excited by the idea of a trampoline park, they had to check that its use as such would fit within the existing permitted use for that site. But the mall is already evolving – if slowly. Last year, the Atlantic County Economic Alliance opened an office spot in the mall – something that probably wouldn’t have been conceived as a future use when the site first opened in 1987.