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Lewis County bowlers disappointed that Lewis Lanes will close

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LOWVILLE — The pending sale of Lewis Lanes to the county has upset some local bowlers.

“That disgusts me that they’re going to close down the bowling alley,” said Rachel Galarneau, whose 5-year-old son is a member of the Saturday morning youth bowling league.

Popular not just for bowling but community events, the facility at 7828 Route 26 will close at the end of April.

“My son’s bowled there for two years. His father bowled there, his grandmother was a bowler,” Ms. Galarneau said. “It keeps kids out of trouble. ... there’s not much left around here for kids to do Saturday mornings.”

Her son, Ashton Marcum, recently bowled a memorable 126 game in the best of two games with bumper series. Oct. 19, he bowled a 247 in the best of three games with bumpers.

“Bowling nights — every night of the week that place is packed, so now everybody in Lewis County either has to go to Boonville or Watertown. I can’t believe,” she said.

“It’s going to be kind of disappointing if it goes away,” said Thomas R. Dening, who bowls in the Jim Manzer Memorial League for the Cedars Golf team. “But it doesn’t surprise me. I know the owners and they’ve got to do what they have to. It’s kind of a shame to see it go this way, though.”

The alley owners explained in a press release the decision was financial and family-oriented.

“The bowling business is not what it used to be, and it is very difficult to continue to operate in today’s economy,” said the release.

“It takes long hours to operate the business, and I plan to retire in the next couple of years to spend more time with my family,” said Richard E. Crouse, who owns the building with his son, Derek.

In addition to regular bowling hours and leagues, the 12-lane bowling alley often has been the host for community benefits. The Lewis County Hospital Foundation has hosted its annual Dialysis Bowl-a-thon there for the past four years, and anticipates still holding it in March.

“Luckily we put it in the spring so we can raise some money before it’s gone,” said JoAnne Rhubart, foundation executive director. “It’s disappointing, from a community standpoint. But it looks like it could be something good for the county.”

The fundraiser benefits the hospital’s $1.9 million dialysis project, expected to begin in the spring.

The bowling alley also has been the site for Girl Scout sign-ups, children’s birthday parties and fundraisers for other organizations, including Reach Out Youth Ministries.

Lewis Lanes operated strictly as an ice cream stand over the summer, when bowling was slow, and opened again for the season at the start of September.

The only other bowling alley in Lewis County is Harrisville Lanes and Lounge, 7828 Route 26, which has eight lanes compared with Lewis Lanes’s 12. Otherwise bowlers can travel to Pla-Mor Lanes and Seaway Lanes in Watertown or Boonville Bowl-A-Rama.

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