This November 14, 2015 photo shows the interior of the Kenai Bowling alley, which closed in September 2015, in Kenai. The bowling alley is now owned by the city of Kenai, which will soon begin seeking management for it. (Ben Boettger/Peninsula Clarion)

This November 14, 2015 photo shows the interior of the Kenai Bowling alley, which closed in September 2015, in Kenai. The bowling alley is now owned by the city of Kenai, which will soon begin seeking management for it. (Ben Boettger/Peninsula Clarion)

Future of Kenai bowling alley in limbo

Members of the public came out Wednesday night to urge Kenai City Council members to support Charlotte Yamada’s effort to reopen Kenai’s bowling alley.

Yamada updated the council on recent actions she’s taken to gather funding for the bowling alley, which would help fund equipment updates. Yamada has been working towards reopening the bowling alley since it closed in late 2015.

“It is taking a long time to get this process done,” Yamada said. “It’s a very specific business we are trying to get back up and on its feet, and that in and of itself is kind of what we are fighting against.”

Because of the specificity of the business, and because there are so few bowling alleys in the state, getting funding to update the building to code and to buy equipment is proving difficult.

The Kenai City Council held an executive session at the end of their Wednesday meeting to discuss a request for renegotiation of terms regarding the sale of the bowling alley property. The council unanimously passed a motion authorizing the city manager to renegotiate the terms of the bowling alley opportunity. The administration came to no decision but said at the meeting they are going to continue negotiating with the owner of the building, Sue Chang, and her business partner Yamada.

Yamada said Thursday that progress with the bowling alley is up in the air. At Wednesday’s meeting, she was optimistic about the bowling alley’s potential.

“It does lend itself to being just what our community needs,” Yamada said. “I’m just crazy enough to jump on board.”

The bowling alley was built in 1984 as Kenai Bowl. It sat on city-owned land in Kenai’s airport reserve, and the owners paid an annual lease, which went to support the Kenai Municipal Airport. Most recently, Ken Liedes, who operated the business as Alaskalanes, owned the bowling alley. The Clarion previously reported his annual lease to the city was $27,000, which he defaulted on before shutting the alley’s doors in late 2015. The city reclaimed the building and sold it for $450,000 in February of last year to Anchorage-based commercial real estate consultant Dean You.

Kenai resident Teea Winger also spoke to the council in support of the bowling business. She said bowling league dues alone would offer a significant profit to the bowling alley. Winger said it would cost her $2,500 in dues for one bowling season. With 12 lanes and four to five people on a team in each lane, she said the bowling alley would have a strong market.

“We’re trying to definitely build up the city of Kenai,” Winger said. “Between this, and the arcade that’s going in, this will really give a lot more activity to the Kenai area than we’ve seen in the past.”

Jeanie Carter, Yamada’s aunt, said the bowling alley would be another place for young people to hang out in the community.

“It’s really nice to know that there’s going to be somewhere else you can go as a couple or as a family besides the movies or out to eat,” Carter said. “That starts adding up dollar wise and weight wise. I have two special needs kids that are very active and I would love to see another place for them to go.”

RaeEllen Kurzendoerfer is a Kenai resident, mother and educator. She also sees the bowling alley as another option for the community’s youth.

“I have six children of my own… My two younger boys are always asking me ‘mom when can we bowling?’ andIhave to tell them that we have to go all the way to Anchorage to go bowling,” Kurzendoefer said. “It’s been a huge part of our community and I think with the Yamadas running the business it will flourish for the youth in our community.”

Reach Victoria Petersen at vpetersen@peninsulaclarion.com.

A broken pin sits on a workbench in the backroom of the Kenai bowling on Saturday, Nov. 14 in Kenai. The bowling alley is now owned by the city of Kenai, which will soon begin seeking management for it. (Ben Boettger/Peninsula Clarion)

A broken pin sits on a workbench in the backroom of the Kenai bowling on Saturday, Nov. 14 in Kenai. The bowling alley is now owned by the city of Kenai, which will soon begin seeking management for it. (Ben Boettger/Peninsula Clarion)

Pinsetting machines installed in the 1980s stand in the backroom of the Kenai bowling alley on Saturday, Nov. 14 in Kenai. The bowling alley is now owned by the city of Kenai, which will soon begin seeking management for it. (Ben Boettger/Peninsula Clarion)

Pinsetting machines installed in the 1980s stand in the backroom of the Kenai bowling alley on Saturday, Nov. 14 in Kenai. The bowling alley is now owned by the city of Kenai, which will soon begin seeking management for it. (Ben Boettger/Peninsula Clarion)

Future of Kenai bowling alley in limbo

Pinsetting machines installed in the 1980s stand in the backroom of the Kenai bowling alley on Saturday, Nov. 14 in Kenai. The bowling alley is now owned by the city of Kenai, which will soon begin seeking management for it. (Ben Boettger/Peninsula Clarion)

More in News

Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Charlie Pierce attends the March 2, 2021, borough assembly meeting at the Betty J. Glick Assembly Chambers at the Borough Administration Building in Soldotna, Alaska. (Photo by Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Former talk-show host to manage Pierce gubernatorial campaign

Jake Thompson is a former host of KSRM’s Tall, Dark and Handsome Show and Sound-off talk-show

Deborah Moody, an administrative clerk at the Alaska Division of Elections office in Anchorage, Alaska, looks at an oversized booklet explaining election changes in the state on Jan. 21, 2022. Alaska elections will be held for the first time this year under a voter-backed system that scraps party primaries and sends the top four vote-getters regardless of party to the general election, where ranked choice voting will be used to determine a winner. No other state conducts its elections with that same combination. (AP Photo/Mark Thiessen)
How Alaska’s new ranked choice election system works

The Alaska Supreme Court last week upheld the system, narrowly approved by voters in 2020.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy speaks to a joint meeting of the Alaska State Legislature at the Alaska State Capitol on Tuesday, Jan. 25, 2022, for his fourth State of the State address of his administration. Dunleavy painted a positive picture for the state despite the challenges Alaska has faced during the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on the economy. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)
Gov points ‘North to the Future’

Dunleavy paints optimistic picture in State of the State address

A COVID-19 test administrator discusses the testing process with a patient during the pop-up rapid testing clinic at Homer Public Health Center on Tuesday, Jan. 25, 2022. (Photo by Sarah Knapp/Homer News)
Free rapid COVID-19 testing available in Homer through Friday

A drive-up COVID-19 testing clinic will be held at Homer Public Health Center this week.

In this Sept. 21, 2017, file photo, former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin speaks at a rally in Montgomery, Ala. Palin is on the verge of making new headlines in a legal battle with The New York Times. A defamation lawsuit against the Times, brought by the brash former Alaska governor in 2017, is set to go to trial starting Monday, Jan. 24, 2022 in federal court in Manhattan. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson, File)
Palin COVID-19 tests delay libel trial against NY Times

Palin claims the Times damaged her reputation with an opinion piece penned by its editorial board

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
COVID-19 at all-time high statewide

The state reported 5,759 new cases sequenced from Jan. 21-23

Volunteers serve food during Project Homeless Connect on Jan. 25, 2018, at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex in Soldotna, Alaska. (Erin Thompson/Peninsula Clarion file)
Project Homeless Connect to provide services, support on Wednesday

The event will be held at the Soldotna Sports Complex on Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The logo for the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District is displayed inside the George A. Navarre Borough Admin Building on Thursday, July 22, 2021 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Schools aim for business as usual as cases reach new highs

On Monday, there were 14 staff members and 69 students self-isolating with the virus

Triumvirate Theatre is seen on Monday, Feb. 22, 2021 in Nikiski, Alaska. The building burned in a fire on Feb. 20. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Triumvirate construction on hold as theater seeks additional funding

The new theater is projected to cost around $4.7 million.

Most Read