After more than a decade of amusement, Riverhead’s Out East Family Fun center is retiring its putters.
The center, which opened in 2001 on Route 58, is slated to close by the end of September, owner Ed Meier told the News-Review last week.
He said he is selling the three-acre property, which includes an 18-hole mini-golf course and batting cages.
The property has been on the market for more than a year, Mr. Meier said. He said he now has a buyer lined up and he’s hopeful the deal will not fall through. He declined to provide specifics on the buyer or the site’s future plans.
“I’m ready to retire,” he said. “When I opened, I had a young family then, and we always used to take the kids to places like this. We didn’t have a place like this nearby, so I started one.”
His kids have since grown, he explained, noting that it is now his grandchildren who come to enjoy the park, which his youngest son now helps manage.
He said he started the center after he retired from a 20-year career at Brookhaven National Lab. As the center grew over the years — particularly in 2007 when water games and a water slide were added — so did its upkeep.
“The real reason I want to retire is, all the energy I put into this place,” he said, strapping on a leaf blower to clean up his golfing greens. “It’s time I put that energy into the people I care about.”
Mr. Meier said keeping up with all the expectations of a family fun center proved challenging at times.
“Some people expected a nice place to mini golf, while others expected that of places like Disney Land,” he said. “It has been hard reaching all [of their expectations].
“I do feel bad for the steady customers that have always come. They are the customers you want. They have always been the best part.”
He said the park attracted the young and old, whether it was the water park and slide, which was popular with younger kids, or the batting cages, which were a favorite among little league players and men playing on local recreational softball teams.