It's been almost four years since Central Market in Mandan closed. Time to do something productive with it.

The obvious question is of course what to do with it. And I think the obvious answer is to turn it into an indoor amusement or entertainment center. Bismarck-Mandan needs a place like this because with the long winters, we need something to do.

Let's look at the logistics of doing this. First off, what do I mean by an amusement or entertainment center? I'm talking mini-golf, laser tag etc. These are fun things to do even in the summer but would certainly do well in the winter.

The Central Market building is 32,173 square feet. It's on sale for $1.4 million.

According to one company that builds indoor mini golf courses, they can be as small 3,500 square feet for an 18 hole course.

Another amusement company that builds laser tag arenas says that laser tag arenas built within entertainment centers can be as small as 3,000 square feet.

That puts us at 6,500 square feet. Now the question of course is what to do with the extra 25,673 feet. Apparently a small indoor go-kart track (that adults can use and not just a kids track) would be 26,500 square feet. That's too big for our liking.

So that gives us a couple of options. We can make Central Market just a go-kart facility or we can do mini golf, laser tag, and then maybe add an arcade and a bar/restaurant to fill the extra space.

Other options include a batting cage or a floorball rink. There's also the possibility of a Paintball arena.

A lot of people may be screaming to just turn the place into a Dave & Buster's. Unfortunately, that can't happen. Even though they only require their franchises to have 26,500 square feet, they also require the markets to have a population of 700,000 to 1 million people within 10 miles. Considering that's basically the entire population of our state, and considering North Dakota is bigger than 10 miles (contrary to popular belief), we can't fulfill that requirement.

Admittedly and unfortunately the low ceiling does hurt the plausibility of all this but I think it can work.

If you have any other ideas, feel free to let us know. Also, if you have money, please go ahead with this plan. I'm poor so I can't do it. But I know somebody out there can.

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