Bowling center reopens today
By Eloise Aguiar
Advertiser Staff Writer
KAILUA — One month after the Pali Lanes closed, a new group of owners has decided to reopen the only civilian bowling center on the Windward side.
Art Machado, Chuck Webb and Gary Darling pooled their resources, purchased the center's equipment, hired some of the old employees and signed a lease with an agreement to pay the same rent for the next 2 1/2 years.
The bowling alley will reopen today at 10 a.m.
For Machado, an avid bowling supporter since he was 17 years old, taking on this new responsibility at age 69 fulfills a lifelong goal of owning a bowling alley.
"It's a dream. That really motivated me more than anything else," Machado said, while friends, family and employees worked to fix up the building last week and familiarize themselves with its operation.
The possibility of losing the only civilian bowling center on the Windward side was also a big motivator for Machado, the manager for the O'ahu Bowling Association.
Machado said O'ahu once had 31 civilian bowling alleys. Counting Pali Lanes, only three remain.
With 5,000 bowlers on the island, the sport could not afford to lose another center, Machado said.
Julia Solomon, 73, of Waimänalo, said she was very sad when she heard Pali Lanes would close. The facility opened a whole new life for her after her husband died nine years ago. Bowlers invited her in, taught her to play and became her new friends, Solomon said.
"We have a lot of lost bowlers," said Solomon, who had dropped by the Pali Lanes to see if it was going to open again. "They don't know what they're going to do with their bowling balls."
After 50 years, the lease for the bowling center expired Dec. 31. It closed on Dec. 18.
Kimo Steinwascher, vice president for Kaneohe Ranch Co. Ltd., said Kaneohe Ranch had made the same lease offer to the previous owner.
With no immediate plans for the building in the near future, Kaneohe Ranch was pleased to have the building occupied because it is a specialized facility and would have been difficult to find any other kind of tenant, Steinwascher said.
"It's already attracted some homeless people," he said. "We're very pleased that we have a new group of Kailua-based bowlers that are willing to take on the responsibility of running Pali Lanes for the next few years."
The building needs some repairs, and Paul Fuegi was there yesterday to begin work as the maintenance manager.
"I'm excited," Fuegi said. "I'm envisioning a new face lift, getting it all cleaned up inside, modernized. We're going to get a Web site made. We're trying to make it a good community center."
Susan Babcock, a friend of Machado who is helping to set up the business, said they will focus on customer service to leagues, schools, groups and individuals.
As a mom who introduced bowling to her son when he was 8 years old, Babcock said the game is not only good for you physically, but it has taught her son about winning and losing, plus his bowling friends inspired him to work harder in school.
"The young people today need some place to go instead of getting in trouble," she said. "They need someplace to go that offers wholesome activities. This is one of the ways."