Killing group gathering locations in Seattle and the Eastside, one bowling alley at a time

The incontrovertible fact that Kirkland’s Tech City Bowl will shut in October is one other in a collection of nails-in-the-coffins for bowling alleys, a development that has struck the Puget Sound space over the past 15 years.

Developers need the land they sit on. It’s far more necessary to erect the flat-faced condominium blocks which might be constructed out to the sidewalk, or put in one other drugstore or financial institution. Developers have money to purchase out any struggling and even worthwhile bowling alleys. The chain companies that may occupy have money to pay the excessive leases whereas builders will understand their earnings.

Seattleites have lived by this with the unhappy demise of Sunset Bowl in Ballard, and of its sister property Leilani Lanes in North Seattle, each of which sat empty after closing due to the recession. Robin Hood Lanes in Edmonds gave strategy to a Walgreen’s. Sunvilla in Bellevue is a automotive dealership. Now the Eastside — Bellevue, Redmond and Kirkland, the cash-rich triumvirate — is confronted with the identical state of affairs. We won’t have a real bowling alley in any of the three cities. (For all intents and purposed, Lucky Strike in Lincoln Square is taken into account get together lanes — it doesn’t have the full-spectrum of companies.)

Realize that this isn’t simply in regards to the sport of bowling. The lack of lanes is the continued destruction of group gathering locations. Bowling alleys have been at their social top for many years. Couples bowled in evening leagues, ladies bowled in day leagues, nursery companies on the lanes allowed a break from kids. Leagues proceed regardless of the kid care being gone, and bowling alleys supply far more than that. Saturday mornings are youth league, the place kids hone their expertise with volunteer coaches. Many of those younger folks spend the remainder of the weekend bowling in tournaments. Busloads of individuals with disabilities are capable of bowl weekly. Children can benefit from the sport with the comparatively new invention of the facet bumpers.

As a member of the Microsoft bowling league at Tech City, a league open to anybody, I watch what occurs at 9 p.m., when the charges go down and the black lights activate. Young folks flood the place, coming to commune round a sport the place it doesn’t matter your potential: You can nonetheless play. They come to be collectively in a public place, associates gathering. On the weekends, you’ll be able to’t even get a observe lane, the place is so busy with kids’s birthday events.

Now we’ll be with out one other one. Other social sport areas are leaving too, like curler and ice rinks. More housing is necessary, absolutely, however for each bowling alley that’s come down, there’s been a strategy to construct what needed to be constructed and nonetheless maintain the lanes. But builders don’t need that answer — they need the convenience of demolishing and beginning over. If they care in any respect about group, they may design a patch of grass by a fountain and set up a few benches.

We have parks. Our cities have been good to us with parks. We have tennis courts, basketball courts, swings and baseball fields. We even have climate than makes it exhausting to make use of these amenities year-round. A bowling alley is at all times there, bringing folks collectively. From senior leagues to the stocking-footed toddler, folks get pleasure from bowling and being collectively. Let’s hope town of Kenmore doesn’t make the identical mistake.

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