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I guess all the other problems facing Essex County residents have been solved.
At 6 PM tonight Essex County Executive Joe DiVencenzo (D) will cut the ribbon on a $4.8 million dollar safari-themed mini-golf course in West Orange adjacent to Turtle Back Zoo. A twelve foot tall elephant is one of 14 finely crafted creatures at the 19-hole mini-golf course with waterfalls, sand dunes and a two-story replica of snow-capped Mount Kilimanjaro.
The safari-themed course takes adventurers through "desert" and "grasslands" and the "Congo." They encounter soothing jungle music, via a sound system hidden in the rocks, as well as calming waterfalls and a gorilla, hippo, camel and chimpanzee ... some 14 creatures in all.
The mini-golf course's price tag of $4.8 million includes a heavily landscaped lot for 277 vehicles.
A new red-and-green, 36-seat tour bus, costing $138,000, will shuttle visitors from the safari course to the zoo and back — for free.
And there to greet you at the entrance will be Richard Attenborough (who played John Hammond in Jurassic Park) with his signature tag line — "I spared no expenses."
Ah, but the new course is projected to bring in a whopping $250,000 per year in revenue! Assuming we could have invested the $4.8 million price tag at a 4% rate of return it'll take a little over 37 years for this boondoggle to break even. That is if escalating costs don't eat up the profits first.
No wonder a private entity didn't step in to fill this "need". Noboby in his right mind would put his own money up for such a losing proposition.
It takes politicians on an ego trip to waste money on that kind of scale.
Your tax dollars at work.
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