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

Alaska House Speaker Louise Stutes, center, along with leaders of the House majority coalition, Rep. Bryce Edgmon, left and Rep. Kelly Merrickspeaks, right, speak to reporters on the final day of a special legislative session in Juneau, Alaska Friday, June 18, 2021. The special legislative session limped toward a bitter end Friday, with Alaska Gov. Mike Dunleavy and House majority leaders sharply disagreeing over the adequacy of the budget passed by lawmakers earlier this week. (AP Photo/Becky Bohrer)
Special session limps toward its end, another looms

Gov. Mike Dunleavy and House majority leaders sharply disagreed on the adequacy of the budget passed by lawmakers.

Brent Hibbert (left) presents Tim Dillon with a commending resolution on Tuesday in Soldotna. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
KPEDD honored with assembly resolution

The resolution praised, among other things, KPEDD’s work in helping distribute federal COVID-19 relief funds.

The Kenai Public Dock is seen on Friday, June 18, 2021 in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O'Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai dock repairs substantially complete

The dock, which was built in 1986, sustained damage from multiple earthquakes, including in November of 2018.

Screenshot 
A recently released map by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration shows the vast areas of low data speeds and access by broadband users across Alaska and the rest of the U.S.
White House laying groundwork for improved internet infrastructure

In Alaska, providers are looking at their own improvments to access.

Kate Cox, 12, testifies before the Kenai City Council on Wednesday, June 16, 2021 in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Council, public voice support for Triumvirate land donation

The land is located near Daubenspeck Park by the Kenai Walmart.

Part of the hose line laid around the perimeter of the 102-acre Loon Lake Fire to help firefighters extinguish any hot spots is seen on Thursday, June 17, 2021 on the Kenai Peninsula, Alaska. (Bryan Quimby/Gannett Glacier Fire Crew)
Loon Lake Fire reaches 100% containment

The 102-acre fire was first reported on the evening of June 12 and is said to have been caused by lightning.

A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft assigned to the 25th Fighter Squadron taxi during exercise Red Flag-Alaska 21-02 at Eielson Air Force Base on June 14. 
Tech. Sgt. Peter Thompson / U.S. Air Force
Air Force kicks off major multinational exercise in Alaska

More than 100 aircraft from three countries will be involved.

Ron Gillham, who represents District 30 in the Alaska House of Representatives, is seen here in this undated photo. (Courtesy Ron Gillham)
Gillham files intent to run in 2022 primary

Gillham did not indicate the office he plans to run for.

Most Read