Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Tattered T. Rex Could Keep Watch on Beach Boulevard for Years

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Tattered T. Rex Could Keep Watch on Beach Boulevard for Years

Article excerpt

Byline: Mark Woods

He has been standing there for decades, a familiar site for drivers heading east on Beach Boulevard.

A 20-foot dinosaur, leaning on a bone, baring his jagged teeth.

While evolution has wiped out many things along this road, including all the other animals that once stood guard over holes at a place called Goony Golf, the dinosaur has remained.

So when bulldozers cleared everything off a lot near the corner of Beach and Peach -- everything except a faux Tyrannosaurus rex that has roamed the Earth since the days of 99-cent fossil fuel -- people began calling the company that put up "For Lease" signs on the property.

What's going to happen to the dinosaur?

The answer is that he probably won't be going anywhere soon, that he likely will end up a fixture in the parking lot of a new shopping center.

Hawk St. John, commercial leasing consultant for Ash Properties Inc., says the owners of the property had some offers to buy the dinosaur. They declined and instead "anticipate" they will restore the dinosaur and make it an "integral part" of a shopping center with retail stores and restaurants.

"For the last 33 or 35 years, it has been kind of a local landmark," St. John said.

It sounds kind of silly, but it's true.

That's how one reader began a phone conversation. It sounds kind of silly, Barbara Turner said, but if we can save other familiar landmarks in town, why not an old dinosaur? "It just makes the boring, frustrating ride along Beach Boulevard a little fun," she said. "You just look at him and smile every time."

It's not exactly classic architecture. It's not even unique. It's part of a chain of miniature golf courses, covered with giant owls and signature dinosaurs.

The first Sir Goony Golf course was built in 1960 in Chattanooga, Tenn. By the 1970s, there were several dozen courses around the country. Since then, the courses and the dinosaurs have been gradually heading toward extinction.

The Beach Boulevard dinosaur has inhaled exhaust fumes, weathered thunderstorms and faced the growth equivalent of a meteor shower. A Wal-Mart Supercenter went in about a mile away. …

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