Fort Fun Centre should be fully operational later this year

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The Fort Family Fun Centre’s plans should come to fruition by the fall, according to its owners.

The official groundbreaking for the facility was Friday morning with owners Terry Jones and Brad Hearn, their family, business associates and town officials on hand for the event.

“We’re converting something old into something new,” said Hearn, as part of the ceremony outside the facility that once housed the Verdi Club. “We think we’ve got something new for the town of Amherstburg.”

The proposed new look of what the Fort Family Fun Centre is shown above. (Special to the RTT)

The proposed new look of what the Fort Family Fun Centre is shown above. (Special to the RTT)

To symbolize the change in ownership, Hearn covered the Verdi Club logo that was on the lectern with a logo for the Fort Family Fun Centre.

The Fort Family Fun Centre currently has 40 employees and Hearn said they plan to more than double that number.

“It should be close to 100 when we are done,” he said. “We think it’s good for the town.”

The restaurant portion of the building – known as “The Barracks” – is complete as are renovations to the pavilion with other interior work to include a bowling alley, arcade, party room and laser tag arena. Hearn said the bowling alley should see work done in the next four to six weeks or so.

Other exterior work includes a go-kart track, a new façade to the building and about 200 campsites. Hearn said they plan on getting the façade work underway in the coming weeks with the overall timeline for completion of most of the work in roughly three months.

The Fort Fun Centre, formerly the Verdi Club, will have various uses. (Special to the RTT)

The Fort Fun Centre, formerly the Verdi Club, will have various uses. (Special to the RTT)

The campground may have to wait until next year, he added. Sand volleyball courts are now available.

People from Amherstburg have been loyal and are supporting their new venture, said Hearn, but added they want to be a regional attraction.

“We want to pull from all over Essex County,” said Hearn.

Hearn and Jones have long discussed creating a family fun project in Amherstburg and were presented the option of the Verdi Club property when it came up for sale.

“It’s all coming together,” said Hearn. “We just keep adding things. Hopefully we don’t run out of room.”

Jones said they’ve been talking about a bowling alley or some sort of venture for years and everything came to fruition when the Verdi Club came up for sale.

“Brad’s the best partner you could ever have,” said Jones. “He’s good with people. He likes to have fun and we like to have fun together.”

They are trying to create jobs as well as an attraction, he added, also stating they want to bring in people from around Windsor-Essex County. He said they have an “aggressive” construction schedule but that is by design.

“We’ve got to keep moving in order to keep the excitement building,” he said.

Owners Brad Hearn and Terry Jones (left) and their staff held an official groundbreaking ceremony last Friday morning.

Owners Brad Hearn and Terry Jones (left) and their staff held an official groundbreaking ceremony last Friday morning.

Mayor Aldo DiCarlo said the location is special due to its history.

“This location means a lot to me and many other people in town,” said DiCarlo, calling it an “Italian cultural hub” for Amherstburg.

However, he praised Hearn and Jones for their vision and said it will be not only a boost for Amherstburg, but for Windsor-Essex County as well.

“We are very grateful they are creating another attraction,” the mayor stated.

DiCarlo said Hearn and Jones as well as their businesses have shown a commitment to Amherstburg through their investments and their charitable support of local causes.

“This is another example,” said DiCarlo.

The Fort Family Fun Centre is located at 689 Texas Road. Their website is www.thefortfuncentre.com.

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