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Former bowling alley might be demolished

Shelton-Mason County Journal of Shelton, Washington

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City hopes to find money to abate crumbling structures

The "cat house" on Second Street and the former bowling alley on First Street are the last two derelict structures on the city of Shelton's original Top 10 list of buildings to abate.

In the next few weeks, the city will determine whether it has the money to demolish the old four-lane bowling alley in 2016, Steve Goins, the city's director of community and economic development, told the Shelton City Commission on Monday.

"Certainly that's an objective of ours," he said.

The size of the sagging structure is a major challenge in demolishing it, Goins said in an interview with the Journal.

The building "is basically property-line-to-property-line with businesses on both sides," Goins said.

"You can't just knock it down and hope it doesn't fall on anything," he said.

Demolishing the building will cost between about $40,000 and $50,000, Goins said. The city hopes to collect money for the abatement program by selling the lots it purchased from previous abatements, he said.


On Tuesday, the Journal asked members of the Facebook page "Well, you might be from Shelton ..." to share their memories of the former bowling alley.

"I've heard the old timers talking about this place," wrote Chris Richling. "They always joked about how their game would change with the tides. Low tide was a different get from high tide."

Jamie Musgrove Jones said she spent a lot of time at the alley in the early and mid-1970s.

"That brings back lots of good memories ... bowling by myself or with friends while Dad visited with friends in the bar, learned how to keep score, playing the punch cards at the bar, the special treat of being able to "belly up' to the bar and being included with the grown-ups," she wrote. "The bartenders and others were always so nice and it always felt safe. In my memories, it always had the old town/time vibe of people being neighborly."

"They had small bowling balls for us kids to use and a pin boy to put up the pins we managed to knock down," wrote Lynn Nelson. "I also remember walking behind the adults drinking at the bar when we used the bathroom. And we were always allowed to go by ourselves. The place reeked of smoke and alcohol, but we were safe."

Opinions varied on the future of the site.

"I know the building is full of history, but I'm happy to see it go," wrote Kevin Slaughter. "That place looks dangerous and is taking up space that could be something nice."

"I wonder what they will build there if anything," wrote Lance Barber. "I hope it's not another fantastic bus station. Just put something classy there."

"I think the building should be restored!" wrote Steven Rosenow. "Shelton needs a bowling alley again!"


In 2012, the city created what it calls a "streamlined, proactive process" to deal with derelict structures using the hearings examiner instead of the court system.

The city also passed an ordinance that strengthens its staffs ability to cite structures as public nuisances by making those types of nuisances a civil infraction.

The city staff produced the Top 10 list of buildings to abate in the fall of 2012.

In deciding which structures to demolish, the city considers the size of the nuisance, its visual impact, the cost of the abatement, the likelihood of the property owner addressing the issue and the likelihood a private owner will redevelop the site.

In July 2014, the city issued contracts for about $16,000 to demolish a house at 2125 Washington St. and a 660-square-foot mobile home at 611 Fairmount Ave.

This year, the city demolished one building. In October, a bulldozer leveled a house at 628 Ellinor Ave. The previous owners had dug a basement under the house, without permits from the city.

They then pored a concrete floor on loose gravel, and propped up the structure on cinderblocks, without a rebar. After they left, squatters found their way inside.

Like all the other demolitions, the neighbors came out to cheer.

The demolition of the bowling alley would leave the abandoned brick structure on Second St. as the final item on the city's original Top 10 list. The building debuted in 1927 as the Cameron Hotel, but the tenants now are feral cats who jump in through the broken windows.

The building "had been secured at one time, but it's been breached," Goins said.

Goins said the city hasn't made an estimate on how much it would cost to demolish the building, but he would guess about $75,000.

At Monday's commission meeting, Mayor Gary Cronce said he hopes funding becomes available for the abatement program.

"This has probably been one of the best programs the city has embarked on because it has a win-win-win to it," he said.

Copyright 2015 Shelton-Mason County Journal, Shelton, Washington. All Rights Reserved. This content, including derivations, may not be stored or distributed in any manner, disseminated, published, broadcast, rewritten or reproduced without express, written consent from SmallTownPapers, Inc.

Original Publication Date: December 31, 2015

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