Lincoln Lanes has been in Vernon since 1968, and with the owners looking to sell after retiring, a petition has been launched to save the storied bowling alley.
Lincoln Lanes was listed for sale last September, and so far it hasn’t been purchased.
It is listed as “prime development property,” and local bowlers fear it may be torn down to make way for housing or other developments once purchased.
An online petition to save the lanes was launched Wednesday, June 28, by Heather Leask, and so far it has garnered more than 1,200 signatures.
Leask says the owners want to keep the property as a bowling lane “in order to continue to support the hundreds of league bowlers, the special Olympic bowlers, and the families who hold birthday parties, as well as just average Vernonites who like to throw a game throughout the year.”
The petition requests that the City of Vernon purchase the bowling alley and run it as is.
“The recreation services that Vernon offers for swimmers, skaters, athletes, etc. needs to be extended to those who love the sport of five pin bowling. It is a sport that can be done by any age and any ability level. It keeps children, adults, and seniors active.”
The building is 10,400 square feet and contains 14 bowling lanes on a 1.18 acre parcel of land on 25th Avenue. It is listed for $1,895,000.
The listing reads: “It would be a shame for Vernon to (lose) this iconic and long-standing community use property but the land and redevelopment values now make this property/building and 10,400 building not much more than land value.”
In the past, Lincoln Lanes has hosted the B.C. Summer and Winter Olympic Games, Special Olympic Games and Seniors Olympic Games, where out-of-town bowlers came and boosted Vernon’s economy.
Lincoln Lanes was originally purchased by Al and Evelyn Wiffen, and Mike and Marg Yarchuk in 1969. A year later, the Wiffens bought out the Yarchuks and have operated the centre for the past 54 years.
A number of people wrote in the petition’s comments how much the bowling alley means to them.
“Vernon needs a bowling alley. There isn’t a lot else that families and teenagers can do indoors for wholesome recreation that isn’t too expensive. Bowling is so fun and good friends of ours compete in bowling and need that alley to practice. We need to keep recreation and money in Vernon instead of everyone going to Kelowna for all the fun things. We need options for indoor fun,” wrote Kelsey Robson.