Demo begins for bowling alley renovation
Demolition has begun in the basement of the Bellport Community Center, officially kicking off renovations to the whole space, including the restoration of a century-old bowling alley. The project is a partnership between the Village of Bellport and the Bellport Village Program Fund.
The alley is rich in history, with estimates going back a century to when it was built and initially used. The manual pin setting and gravity-backed ball return make it clear that it’s an ancient gem, which is why the BVPF and local residents want it to be used.
Michael Foster, chairman of the BVPF, estimated the cost sharing to be 65 percent for his organization, with 35 percent left to the village. The BVPF will run the renovation project, which is being led by board member Philip Thomas, and the village will handle maintenance and operation once it is complete. Thomas, who designed much of the future space, said it will be much more open and functional, allowing for not just a renewed use in the bowling alley, but of the entire basement. There are currently four pool tables down there, and two will be removed to create more space for programming.
Gold Crown Bowling Service, which specializes in construction and renovation of bowling alleys, will perform the fixes to the basement alley. Foster said there isn’t too much damage to be fixed, outside of general improvements like wood refinishing and painting. He added that the company even has some of the old hardware in storage to use for the renovation.
It will remain two lanes, and Thomas has designed a fresh color palette to make the space brighter, welcoming and meaningful. Some of his designs are actually based on the Great South Bay and will combine color elements that pay tribute to the Long Island icon. The floors on the recreation side will be a dark blue with some light-color waves and splashes of color to represent buoys. The alley side will also have yellow and red markers.
So far in the demolition, the wall that separated the alley with the rest of the basement has been taken down, as has the ceiling. Foster said there would be new balls and bowling shoes supplied for visitors. Ongoing maintenance and access to the alley will depend on how the village plans to run the space, which is still being discussed.
Foster and Thomas are excited that the project is finally moving forward, saying that it will be a new destination for residents to enjoy a game of bowling and recognize a piece of history. It’s also an opportunity to create a new recreation option for the winter months, and can be used all year, Foster added.
“We are so happy to be part of the process that will bring this back to Bellport,” Thomas said.
Demolition is currently taking place to make way for the renovations, which are expected to be completed by the summer season, with a grand opening slated for Memorial Day weekend.
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