MARGATE – There will be mini golf in Margate this summer.

In a major brokered deal, Margate businessman Ed Blumenthal says he won some concessions from the developer of Congo Falls Adventure Golf, a block long, two-story mini-golf course being built on busy Ventnor Avenue in this affluent shore town, a few blocks from Lucy the Elephant.

"The great mini-golf war is settled," said Chris Baylinson, the lawyer for the mini-golf course developer, Mark Benevento.

The changes include the lowering of the course's cave structure by 18 inches and will "soften the project's overall scope," Blumenthal wrote on Facebook.

Bucking the idea that the Jersey Shore and mini-golf go together like vanilla and orange-cream soft serve, Blumenthal had sued to stop Congo Falls on the grounds that the zoning changes would open up the stylish business district to low-brow nuisances and eyesores.

He said he was now withdrawing his lawsuit. Blumenthal reported the news in a Margate community group Facebook post he titled "Détente & Pragmatism."

The developer has also offered to pay Blumenthal $4,000 for his legal expenses, which Blumenthal said will be used to reimburse the 19 people who contributed a total of $2,350 to his Go Fund Me campaign to stop Congo Falls, which he described as "a monstrosity."

"The developers will be reducing the hours a bit, lowering the height of the second level structure, making sure the property will not have a "shuttered" look during the inactive months, providing some parking and, unexpectedly, graciously offering to reimburse those that contributed to our Go-Fund-Me," Blumenthal wrote.

Baylinson said the developer agreed only to monitor the hours, which he said will still allow a final golf group to enter the course as late as 11 p.m. and close by 11:45 p.m., "depending on how fast that group plays." He said two parking spots the developer had won a variance to eliminate will be restored. And he said the site was always going to be maintained during the off-season.

"I think Congo Falls will enhance the business district," Baylinson said. "There will be without question overflow business. It will be a destination attraction."

The two-story “Congo Falls Adventure Golf” course in Ocean City, similar to a scaled-down version the company is building in Margate, a few blocks from Lucy the Elephant. Nearby homeowners have rallied against what they see as a tacky “boardwalk attraction.”
Tom Gralish
The two-story “Congo Falls Adventure Golf” course in Ocean City, similar to a scaled-down version the company is building in Margate, a few blocks from Lucy the Elephant. Nearby homeowners have rallied against what they see as a tacky “boardwalk attraction.”

The site of the mini-golf course is adjacent to the Margate Wawa, dubbed Club Wa for its groups of summer teenagers who congregate there and the subject of a police crackdown last summer. The teens often congregated on the corner that will now be Congo Falls as well.

Margate has historically had several mini-golf courses within its borders.

Blumenthal said his objections were not about mini-golf itself.

“It was never about miniature golf,” he said. “It was about the Zoning Board and the way they changed the land use from retail to recreational. The Zoning Board rule is not a king’s declaration. This is something that can be appealed.”

As for actual concessions at the mini-golf course, Baylinson said the developers intentionally decided not to offer any soda, ice cream or snacks, to encourage its customers to patronize Margate businesses nearby.

He said the weather had delayed construction and developers were now aiming for opening Congo Falls before July Fourth.