Children of all ages could be enjoying mini-golf, bowling and other activities in Denison before the end of the year, an official with HeyDay Entertainment said this week. The Norman-based entertainment center chain plans to officially break ground on its new Denison location — the first in Texas — this Friday.

In September, officials with HeyDay and the city of Denison announced plans to develop the third location in the chain at the intersection of FM 691 and U.S. Highway 75. The development was later said to be one of two major anchors for the retail portion of the Gateway Village development.

“People should see dirt moving soon — not just for us, but for streets and other development,” HeyDay owner Brad Little said.

With good weather and no further delays, Little said he expects HeyDay to be completed and open its doors in December 2018 or January 2019. He said the project has been delayed slightly in reaching the groundbreaking by issues with permitting and other city paperwork that required engineering and professional comments.

“I don't want to guess (when we will open), because if I do, I know I will jinx it,” Little said with a laugh.

Since HeyDay announced its opening, and is approaching its groundbreaking, Little said he has seen other companies take notice and show interest in the Gateway Development. When asked for details, Little said he couldn't comment on specific projects or other developments.

Despite not being able to comment on what kinds of developments are expected to take root following HeyDay, Little said the Sherman-Denison market reminds him of Oklahoma's Moore and Norman, where the original HeyDay opened in 2007. Much like in Denison, Little said the first HeyDay also served as an anchor, and since it opened other developments — including a car dealer, gymnastics studio and Pre-K school — have opened surrounding it.

“We have people out here all the time,” he said. “It really is similar to Sherman and Denison.”

Little said he was also not ready to make any new announcements regarding the features and amenities at the site, but said it would be improved over the Norman flagship location.

Developer Ryan Johnson, president of Covenant Development, said the site work and preparations will likely take about 30 to 45 days with vertical construction to follow.

In January, Johnson announced that the HeyDay development would serve as the first phase of what is now being called the Shops at Gateway Village. Initial designs for the commercial district called for two major entertainment anchors surrounded by a mixture of small retail, office and big-box retailers.

“Having a quality and national award-winning user like HeyDay definitely brings credibility and interest from other users,” Johnson said. “We are excited to have HeyDay as our lead anchor because of the synergy they will bring to the development. More importantly though, we know HeyDay will make a positive impact on our region through their business philosophy and commitment to the communities within our region.”

Johnson said he expects momentum to build after construction of HeyDay begins. Beyond HeyDay itself, Johnson said the construction of the nearby Texoma Health Foundation Park has also helped build interest and momentum in recent months.

“We are currently in discussions with three additional entertainment users and several additional restaurants,” Johnson said. “We are also experiencing a tremendous amount of interest in our residential subdivisions.”