Winter Park teen fights to save bowling alley

Danielle Allison, 15, collects thousands of signatures to save the Aloma Bowl

WINTER PARK, Fla. – A Winter Park teen is on a mission to get results and save a local Winter Park hang out.

You could say bowling is in Danielle Allison's blood. The 15-year-old Winter Park High School student said she grew up at the Aloma Bowl.

"I love to go here with friends and I've had birthday parties here," Allison said. "This place has basically changed people's lives."

This community icon that's been around since 1977, but it could shut its doors and the lanes down for good.

Orchards Hardware Supply has offered to purchase the bowling alley. The facility is appraised for more than $2 million. The company plans to build a new two-story home improvement store on the site.

Bowling alley officials said it is still early, nothing is finalized, and the project is still in talks.

The plan has to be approved by the City of Winter Park.

"It was as much as a surprise to the staff as it is the bowlers that this was even a possibility," Kendra Gaines, the general manager of Boardwalk Bowl said. Boardwalk Bowl is owned by the same parent company as Aloma Bowl.

The company said if the sale goes through, it will move staff and bowlers to its other two facilities in Central Florida: Airport Lanes in Sanford and Boardwalk Bowl in Orlando. The company said it could also possibly build a new venue.

"I understand it's a business proposition for my owner. He has the opportunity to possibly do something on a grander scale and I'm excited to see what the future holds for our company," Gaines said.

Gaines added that Aloma Bowl is open during this process, which she said could take several months.

But Allison said the closet bowling alley is too far for some students on her high school team. That is why she is getting results and starting a petition to save the Aloma Bowl. She said she has already collected more than 2,300 signatures online and from people out in the community to save the facility.

She hopes that is enough support to save the venue and not strike out.

"It is a big part of the community and I don't think we, the community, deserves to lose this place that means so much to us," Allison said.

The city's planning and zoning board is meeting on March 7 to consider the project. Allison said she and hundreds of supporters will be there fighting to keep the bowling alley open.

If the board approves the project, it will go before the full city council for a vote on March 27.