VERO BEACH — The thud of heavy bowling balls landing on the newly finished lanes and careening with 10 pins has returned once again to Vero Beach’s only bowling center.
On Monday, Vero Bowl officially opened to the public to resounding cheers of happy bowlers.
“It’s wonderful!” said bowler Phil Klingaman. “Like night and day from the way it was. It’s beautiful.” Painters continued to touch up walls and creases while electricians fiddled with fuse boxes.
“We’re not totally done,” said Vero Bowl owner Michael Rechter said while surveying the work that still needs to be done.
He hopes to have everything up and running and fine-tuned by the end of this week or early next.
The minor touch-ups still being done didn’t seem to bother the nearly 4-dozen bowlers at the alley Monday afternoon.
For bowler George Healy, he’s just happy to have his bowling “home” back. He and his fellow league members were displaced when the bowling alley abruptly shut down late last year. They couldn’t find space at Ercildoune Lanes in Roseland and Ft. Pierce was too far a drive.
Healy said for the last nine months, his bowling ball has been relegated to the garage.
“Today is the first day it’s moved,” he said.
Fellow bowler Bill Curtis seemed equally pleased to be bowling again after the hiatus.
“As long as I beat these two gentlemen, I’m happy,” he said, referring to Klingaman and Healy.
The 32 lanes gleam under the new lights and can expect to glow once Friday and Saturday nights come along for Cosmic Bowling.
By Monday evening, Rechter said he expected to have the King Pinz Lounge and Bar up and running, and later the grill and snack bar.
In all, Rechter has invested approximately $2 million in the center’s renovation and rehabilitation.
“It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my business career,” Rechter said of the project.
The next step for Rechter is to create a game zone next door to the bowling center. Those plans are under development and must pass City of Vero Beach standards before work can commence.
So far, 1,200 league bowlers have signed up at Vero Bowl, according to Rechter, who expects that number to continue to grow as word spreads about the center.
Recreational bowlers have no need to fear, though, Rechter said. He plans to reserve at least eight lanes at all times for open bowling.
Worst case scenario, he said, bowlers might have to wait 30 to 45 minutes for an open lane.
Vero Bowl is open from 9 a.m. to 1 a.m. daily. Rates vary depending on the day and time.
For more information about Vero Bowl, visit www.VeroBowling.com or call (772) 299-PINS (7467).