Old bowling alley getting second look as recreation facility

Monticello city staff wants to conduct a review of the old bowling alley site at 101 Chelsea Road for potential re-use as multi-user recreation and event center.
Specifically, a mix of prospective users that includes a Brazilian jujitsu and fitness training organization, the Monticello Soccer Club, and the Monticello Community Center (MCC) are interested in re-using the building,   City Administrator Jeff O’Neill and Community Development Director Angela Schumann stated in a background memo.
According to O’Neill and Schumann, if council members are interested in allowing an adaptive re-use of the building until a future date when redevelopment pressure arrives, then a study of the current state of the building needs to occur to determine if the idea is worth pursuing.
Monticello Soccer Club President Tony Rowan has offered funds necessary to evaluate the environmental condition of the building as a first step toward determining feasibility, O’Neill and Schumann stated in their memo.
While the roof of the building remains in good shape, it does need to be evaluated for mold and any other environmental concerns. Once any environmental issues and costs to rehabilitate are identified, the interested organizations can decide if it is worth going forward on developing a plan and budget for rehabbing the building, including repairs and additions to achieve building and fire code compliance.
Use terms have been discussed on an informal basis with the Monticello Soccer Club, based on input from Mayor Herbst and Councilmember Lloyd Hilgart, serving as representatives  to  the council and Monticelllo EDA land sale and acquisition task force.
Under this potential arrangement, the city would retain ownership and provide the facility under a lease arrangement, O’Neill and Schumann stated in their background memo.
Years ago, the city completed a trade with the owners of the Monte Club Hill and old bowling alley site for land in the Jefferson Commons commercial area.
According to O’Neill and Schumann, the trade was made in conjunction with the move of the bowling alley business which resulted in development of the River City Extreme entertainment and banquet facility.
The city obtained the old bowling alley with the intent of holding the land and then selling it in conjunction with future redevelopment. Since there is currently a good supply of commercial land it does not appear that redevelopment of the site is likely in the near term. At the same time, the former bowling alley remains standing and, from time to time, various parties have expressed interest in making use of the site and building.
The bowling alley review was listed as a consent item for consideration on Monday night’s council agenda. See next week’s Monticello Times for an update on the council’s action.

Contact Tim Hennagir at [email protected]