Friday | July 22, 2016
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LANES IN LIMBO: Hilo bowling alley closed; patrons unsure of its future

East Hawaii bowlers are expecting the worst after Hilo Lanes abruptly closed about two weeks ago.

After its air conditioning broke down, the bowling alley on Kinoole Street posted a sign on its door saying it was closed for repairs.

That has since been replaced with another notice saying it is closed “indefinitely until further notice.”

Representatives of bowling teams and clubs say they have yet to hear an official response from owners or management. But the outlook, they say, is not good.

“Something was about to give,” said Damien Chow, coach of the Hilo High School boys and girls bowling teams.

“We didn’t think it was going to be like this.”

Ian Sakata, coordinator for Big Island Junior Bowlers, said the air conditioning was broken May 1 when his club was using the lanes.

This wasn’t the first time that occurred, and they chose to suffer through the heat.

“This time, they didn’t know it was going to break,” Sakata said.

He added, “Ever since, they had been closed.”

Several attempts to reach management and owners were unsuccessful.

The bowling alley opened in 1960, according to a sign on the door.

Wilbert Lau, president of the Hawaii Bowling Association, said he has also been unable to reach anyone.

“Everybody is curious to know what’s happening,” said Lau, a Hilo resident.

Sakata and Chow said their teams are left with few options without a Hilo bowling alley.

“We bowl every week in Hilo and now we have nothing,” Sakata said.

Sakata said the club may try bowling at Kilauea Military Camp, which has a few lanes, or even travelling to Kona.

“It will be difficult,” he said. “We’re just hoping somebody buys the place.”

Chow said eight of the 10 high schools with bowling teams on the island are located on the east side. Without a Hilo bowling alley, he’s not sure how many will continue to participate.

“It’s going to be a trying season for us, the high schools,” Chow said.

“Some schools might pull out if they can’t afford it.”

Email Tom Callis at


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