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Get ready to roll and bowl
Bremerton has been without bowling lanes for a little less than a year now, but those strikeless days are now a part of the past.
A new alley called Bremerton Lanes opened its doors Monday, and the oiled wood and bright arcades are just waiting for activity.
Since Bay Bowl closed its doors last May, bowling addicts have been driving out of town to get their spares.
James Hutchison, who works on the mechanics and runs the front desk at Bremerton Lanes, said he is both looking forward to and dreading the expected rush of bowlers this Saturday night.
I have been in here so long without any customers, Hutchison said.
He is not used to little kids running around, the sound of pins crashing or the tunes blaring out of the overhead speakers.
The new alley takes the place of the previous Westpark Lanes. Westpark owners removed all the old lanes and machines, so everything in Bremerton Lanes is brand new or refurbished.
The opening finally arrived after owner Frank Evans posted a performance bond Monday.
Obviously, as hard as weve worked and as much money weve spent, Im pretty happy about it, Evans said.
Previously, he and city attorney Roger Lubovich and assistant city attorney Simon Stoker spent about six months wrangling over an agreement on site improvements.
Evans started interior work on Bremerton Lanes last February.
But Stoker and Lubovich wanted more exterior improvements in order to satisfy city site improvement codes. Evans, on the other hand, wanted less.
As part of the latest agreement, Evans must build a storm water drainage system and pave parking lots within a year. He does not have to construct gutters or sidewalks in front of his building, as initially requested.
Everyone in the city wants the bowling alley to succeed, Simon Stoker said. We had to ensure the citizens of Bremerton were protected in the final result. I think weve reached an excellent resolution.
Throughout negotiations, city officials have maintained that they wanted the bowling alley to open, but they also wanted Evans to abide by the citys code construction standards.
Ive just been basically turning away people the whole time, telling people were not open, Josh Gorton, Bremerton Lanes manager, said. Ive been getting about 15 or 20 calls a day from people wanting us to be open to come bowl, and not having a place to bowl.
Currently, Bremerton residents drive to Port Orchard or Silverdale for the nearest lanes.
One Bremerton local who is quite happy about the new location is Leonard White. He was bowling so enthusiastically on Wednesday afternoon last week that sweat beaded on his forehead.
I am an avid bowler, he said. I try to go maybe two or three times a week. I would like to join a league.
Hes found the right place.