Bibb County theme park Starcadia shuts down suddenly

A Middle Georgia theme park has closed because people have less money to spend on non-necessities.

Starcadia Entertainment Park on Starcadia Circle off Bass Road in north Bibb County closed Tuesday after 11 years of operation. The 6-acre park, which opened in May 1998, includes miniature golf, go-carts, batting cages and an arcade.

“It’s very hard,” park owner Beverly Olson said Wednesday. “It’s my baby.”

But because of the economic downturn, people are weighing their options for available cash, Olson said. Attendance began dropping significantly in September and October, she said.

“(People) are making decisions between groceries and medicine, versus entertainment,” she said. “Entertainment understandably comes out on the short end.”

Olson informed the full-time staff of the closure Tuesday. While the center usually employs about 50 people part time during the summer, there are three full-time workers and about five part-time regular workers.

“There were a lot of tears,” when workers were informed of the closure, she said. “We are a big family.”

Chip Cherry, president and CEO of the Greater Macon Chamber of Commerce said the closure will leave a void in the community.

“It’s very disappointing that they had to close the facility and it will be missed,” Cherry said.

Olson got the idea for the park in 1994 when she and here pre-teen son, Charles, were driving to Michigan and stopped at an entertainment center in Tennessee called Celebration Station,

“He said, ‘Mom you ought to do something like this in Macon,’” Olson said. “I planned it from scratch.”

She worked with a Mercer student on the design.

“I had the ideas and he had the smarts,” she said.

Olson said a lot of details have to be worked out, but she plans to put the property up for sale.

“It’s a wonderful place to go, but I don’t think anybody could afford (to run it as an entertainment center),” she said.

A few employees will be at the center through the end of the month to answer questions and to pack up the facility.

To contact writer Linda S. Morris, call 744-4223.