PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — Get ready for a perfect game: iconic bowling alley Bowl-A-Rama is coming back to Panama City.
Hurricane Michael destroyed the building back in 2018.
The grand reopening has been a long time coming for local avid bowlers.
“The entire bowling community is excited and can’t wait for this event to happen,” Panama City United States Bowling Congress Association Manager Michael Palase said. “Ever since Hurricane Michael came through, we lost three bowling centers in one day.”
Those bowling centers include Bowl-A-Rama, Kindel Lanes in Marianna and Raptor Lanes on Tyndall Air Force Base.
“We had over 800 bowlers, 21 leagues, youth leagues, and we lost it all in one day,” Palase said. “This has been a long time coming. Right now, our bowlers are either not bowling, bowling in Fort Walton, Destin, Dothan.”
The process of getting Bowl-A-Rama back open wasn’t easy for new owner Donald Williams.
“It’s been painful,” he said. “We knew coming in, we had a lot of work to do to the place. It’s just time-consuming, getting everything done, the process of getting the permits and everything. I compliment the city for everything they did to help us.”
Williams and his wife bought the bowling alley back in December of 2020. He said the long process was worth it.
“It’s just like any other project,” Williams said. “You have things come up that you don’t expect and then gotta backtrack, correct it, and then press on from there.”
Palase is grateful for Rock’it Lanes in Panama City Beach for housing the leagues in the meantime.
“They’ve been gracious,” he said. “We’ve been able to have two leagues over there since Hurricane Michael. Here at Bowl-A-Rama, we can have our tournaments again. We can have our youth leagues and we can get back to traditional bowling.”
They will begin league sign-ups for the fall season as soon as the bowling alley opens.
“I know the entire community can’t wait to have the local establishment in Panama City on this side of the bridge reopened and back in operation,” Palase said.
The bowling alley is located on 15th Street and will open at 11 a.m. next Wednesday, June 15.