New Aroostook County mall owner envisions trampoline park in former Sears

11 months ago

A $2.5 million trampoline park is coming to the Aroostook Centre Mall in Presque Isle.

Trampoline City is part of new mall owner Dana Cassidy’s plan to revitalize and bring new business to the beleaguered shopping center.

The 30,000-foot recreation area will contain 200 trampolines, worked into about 13 different events for both kids and adults, Cassidy said Thursday. It’s modeled after Skowhegan’s park by the same name, which he designed and opened about a year and a half ago. 

The Caribou developer wants to bring people back to the mall by increasing its offerings and hours. Perpetual traffic is his mantra: if there’s more to buy and do, during more hours, there’ll be more customers spending money locally, and building the city and County economies. Aroostook Centre Mall is the largest Maine mall complex north of Bangor.

“The mall lost about $1.3 million last year. Its income was less than a third of that,” Cassidy said. “In order for the Aroostook Centre Mall to be successful, we have to increase income and decrease the expense line.”

One way he plans to do that is by paying for the renovations and coming projects outright, rather than borrowing money, to hold debt at bay. As more storefronts and 24-hour services, like an upcoming laundromat and gym, open, income will rise.

Trampoline City will take about 14 months to complete, Cassidy said. Though he has hired local contractors to do most of the work in the mall, he had to order the trampolines and assembly. The parts are in production in China and should be finished by October, he said.

It will take roughly from four to six months to ship all of the pieces to Presque Isle, he said. The assembly process will take another three or four months. 

The park will be in the area of the former Sears anchor store, Cassidy said as he looked over the floor plan. 

Dana Cassidy, owner of the Aroostook Centre Mall, looks over plans for a $2.5 million trampoline park he plans to bring to the Presque Isle shopping center. The 30,000-square-foot venue will be built in part of the former Sears store. (Paula Brewer | The Star-Herald)

The trampoline park’s features will include a sponge-ball pit, a “ninja” game area, a deck to jump from and what he called an Olympic-level area for older kids and adults, which will have a 16-foot ceiling for higher jumps. An activity called spider will let jumpers don Velcro and launch themselves at a Velcro-coated wall.

Cassidy plans to add an arcade, a rest area with cameras on the action for parents or guardians, and benches where people may sit to watch the activities. The design meets state, local and international standards for safety, he said.

The International Association of Trampoline Parks helps set safety guidelines throughout designing, building and operating trampoline venues. Professionals can purchase the construction guidelines. Safe operation includes staff training, having constant supervision and reinforcing strict safety rules set by each park.

Just as he did in Skowhegan, Cassidy will monitor the first few weeks of operation, he said, and staff will be trained in how to maintain the equipment.

Cassidy also owns a smaller trampoline park and arcade in Caribou, Playtime Adventures.

In addition to the recreational venue, two new eateries are expected to open in August in the mall: a pizzeria and a store that will sell baked goods and specialty sweets.

The pizza restaurant, which does not yet have a name, will use its own homemade dough and employ a delivery service, he said. The bakery will be run by a local baker, whom Cassidy did not name because details are still being worked out.  

Crews are at work on another portion of the former Sears: Omni, a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week gym that is Cassidy’s own design and will be similar to chain centers like Planet Fitness, he said. 

Overall, Cassidy envisions a strip-mall design, with several exterior storefronts that will also open into the enclosed mall walkway. Later plans include creating a senior housing area in the former Porteous space and perhaps a big-box store or offices. 

“There’s more to come. We want to generate people’s excitement,” he said. “Why should they go elsewhere to spend their money?”