- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 28, 2015

July 28—The Newton building where so many strikes and spares have been logged will again be up and running as a bowling alley again soon, now that it’s in the possession of a local couple.

Tuesday, Realtor Lisa McKinney told the Newton Daily News that Cardinal Lanes has been purchased by herself and her husband, Brian, from Great Southern Bank at a cost of $106,000.

“The goal is to open for Labor Day weekend,” Lisa McKinney said. “Leagues are scheduled to start the week after Labor Day.”

She said there are plans to put in a family entertainment center at the bowling alley, with laser tag, a redemption arcade and party rooms for birthdays or corporate events. The food menu will be updated, with an effort made to keep it affordable.

There will need to be significant work done to the building, located on S. Fifth Ave. E., east of E. 12th Street S., before it can reopen. She said the roof is the top priority, as the couple doesn’t want any of its indoor remodeling work to be exposed to any moisture.

“We’ve tried to be as prepared as possible,” McKinney said. “We’ve had contractors come in and look at all the systems, such as the roof and the plumbing.”

The longtime owners and Cardinal Lanes operators, Jeff and Bev Van Blair, weathered 34 years worth of economic twists and turns before finally losing it to foreclosure in the late spring. During a May 19 sheriff’s sale of the property no one bid on the property, and it went into the possession of Great Southern Bank.

The building was constructed around 1970. In September 1981, the Van Blairs purchased Cardinal Lanes from Joe Fleming. It was the Van Blairs’ second attempt at being proprietors of a bowling center, having purchased one in 1978 in Humboldt before it burned down later that same year.

Bev Van Blair, who has continued to served on state and national bowling boards, expressed much gratitude in May for the way the community supported the facility and the sport through the years.

Cardinal Lanes provided high school teams a place to practice and hold meets without cost.

The Van Blairs began upgrading the bowling center starting with replacing obsolete pin spotters and replacing the over-lane ball returns with under-lane ball returns during the summer of 1982. A jackhammer was needed to create tunnels through concrete between all the lanes to install an underground return system.

A computer scoring system was installed in 1996.

Cardinal Lanes survived a rough downturn in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the closure of the Maytag plant in 2007, and spiraling costs that make running a small-town bowling alley a tough haul.

In May, Van Blair said18 of the 20 lanes at the bowling center are usable. She said resurfacing lanes, which is done every three or four years, costs at least $17,000.

Lisa McKinney said she and Brian plan to keep 15 of the 20 lanes, using the rest for spare parts and materials.

“The pinspotters are from the 1950s, brought over used from Gibson bowling, which was where Sombreros strip mall is today,” McKinney said. “They are obsolete, and parts are nearly impossible to find.”

She said there are longstanding plumbing issues that must be resolved. Three of the four HVAC units are original equipment, and the kitchen, bar, ceilings and walls all need work.

“Pretty much everything needs some TLC,” she said.

The McKinneys are both Newton natives and Newton High School alumni. Lisa is a U.S. Army veteran Newton-area Realtor; Brian worked at Maytag, and, more recently, at Vermeer Manufacturing in Pella.

McKinney sounded excited as she discussed the possibilities, but a lot of work is ahead.

“A lot has to happen in a short time,” she said. “It’s pretty overwhelming We ask that the community will be patient and supportive through our growing pains.”

Contact Jason W. Brooks at 641-792-3121 ext. 6532 or [email protected]

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(c)2015 the Newton Daily News (Newton, Iowa)

Visit the Newton Daily News (Newton, Iowa) at www.newtondailynews.com

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