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Thursday, Oct 28, 2021

Amusement center attracts local teens

Plans have been approved for an amusement center to come in on Riverside Drive in a small outlet near the Enterprise Rent-A-Center. The 2700 square-foot amusement center is set to include a poolroom and a game room that will include darts, televisions, Wii games, and skill machines.
The goal of the center is to make this a welcome escape for Mercer students. The center is going to sell pre-packaged food, such as chips, candy, and soft drinks. However, the center will not sell alcohol.
The amusement center will be open from 11 a.m. until midnight on Monday through Saturday, and will not allow anyone under the age of 18. Unfortunately, neither the name of the location nor the date of its opening is yet available to the public.
The owner and operator of the location, Scott Breland, has high hopes for the amusement center. Breland said, “We have one of these in Byron, and it has done well.”
He plans to include prizes for winning, such as merchandise or gift cards, but no cash rewards. However, occupants will most likely be charged to rent games and other accessories, such as darts for dart boards, games for the Wii consoles, or to rent tables for gaming sessions such as Dungeons and Dragons. Although renting tables in this manner has not been confirmed, Breland sees this as a potential option for the facility.

Several citizens of Macon are worried that the ‘skill machines’ and arcade games will lead to gambling in the amusement center, especially considering that the planned building is near Section 8 housing. Some Macon citizens even mock Breland for expecting similar results to his other location in Byron.
Still other locals are concerned that ‘thugs’ will move the flow of illegal drugs through the area. Breland has responded to these claims by saying that he could not, “see where we would be adding anything that would be creating crime in the [Macon] area, and if we have to have security, we certainly won’t be there long.”
There are, as with many things, many more complaints that have been voiced about the idea of the amusement center, but the Macon-Bibb County Planning and Zoning Commission approved Breland’s use of the space.
Rather than focusing on the negative aspects of the community and the crime in the area, Breland views the amusement center as a positive addition to the local area. The center is intended to reduce crime rate rather than build it up. The idea is that if teens are coming to the amusement center and playing arcade games, pool, darts, or Wii games, then they will not be tempted to participate in gambling, drugs, or other illegal activities.
Breland hopes to draw Mercer students and teens from the Macon area to his newly equipped amusement center. However, the date of the grand opening has yet to be determined.


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