DID THE PANDEMIC SAVE MISSOURI CENTER?

Numerous bowling centers have been forced to close for good as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. But in Jefferson City, Missouri, the pandemic may actually have saved a center.

Capital Bowl opened in 1961, when it was called West Gate Lanes. In May 2019, the center was badly damaged in a tornado. That October, it was announced that the center would not re-open.

The owner of the facility wanted to sell it rather than repair it, but initially there were no takers. At one point some local business owners expressed interest in taking over the building, but then that process was slowed by the pandemic.

It took the beginning of demolition work on the building to motivate five locals to step up and purchase the facility. Now, plans are in place to transform the bowling center into a bowling-based family entertainment center.

Plans call for new bowling lanes to be installed, including a VIP area, along with sports simulators, an arcade, a restaurant and a bar.

“Based on the demographics and the population here in Jefferson City, it’s needed,” co-owner Brad Vandegriffe told KOMU-8. “We’re hopeful it’s something the people will use.”

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