'Huge community landmark': Hundreds rally to save old bowling alley in Kailua

(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)

KAILUA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - With one year left on its lease, community members are rallying to preserve an old bowling alley in Kailua.

120 Hekili Street has been home since 1961, but Alexander & Baldwin said it will take back the property at the end of January 2019 and the move isn't sitting well with area residents.

"It's just a huge community landmark," said Kailua resident Evan Weber.

Weber started an online petition to stop the redevelopment.

"We thought it was important to draw a line and take a stand and say we want to keep Kailua, our Kailua," said Weber.

A&B said it plans to turn the lot into an open space area, possibly with a farmers market and food trucks.

"We've been talking to the community in Kailua and gathering feedback for some time now, and what we've heard is that the community wants more open gathering spaces in Kailua town," said Darren Pai, A&B spokesman.

But the bowling center's owner said Pali Lanes already is a community gathering space.

"We got a bunch of seniors that bowl," said Arthur Machado, Jr., owner of Pali Lanes. "We do about 300 to 400 handicap programs. People from Kailua are feeling let down because we're not catering to them at all. Everything is catered to tourists and business."

Machado referred to the former Macy's building across the parking lot.

A&B is also redeveloping it into the Lau Hala Shops retail and restaurant complex, which is set to open later this year.

"We've been working hard to preserve Kailua's small town, charming character while providing for the evolving needs of the community," said Pai.

"We really appreciate the development in Kailua and the ways it's improved our town, but as at a certain point, what makes Kailua great is that real Hawaii feel," Weber said. "If we keep tearing down all the staples that make this real Kailua, then there's not going to be anything for people to come and visit and appreciate."

Hale Kealoha, a Hawaiian food restaurant that subleases at Pali Lanes, will also have to move.

A&B said it's with the bowling center at Marine Corps Base Hawaii to help find a new home for any bowling leagues interested in moving to a new location.

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