Wells bowling alley owners won’t rebuild

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 12, 2001

&t;br&gt WELLS — This city, which has had a bowling alley since the 1940s, lost its lanes to a fire last May.

Friday, January 12, 2001

WELLS — This city, which has had a bowling alley since the 1940s, lost its lanes to a fire last May. Months later, it doesn’t appear that bowling will come back to the town.

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Dream Lanes, destroyed by a late-night fire last May 3, will not be rebuilt, said owner Brenda Jones. She and her husband Randy have decided to sell the property so that a new business can open on the lot near the downtown area.

&uot;The bottom line is that we did not have replacement-cost insurance on the building,&uot; Said Brenda, who is also the executive director of the Wells Chamber of Commerce. &uot;We just can’t afford to build a new building. If we could have found an existing building in Wells, it may have been a possibility, but nothing fits the bill.&uot;

The Joneses owned Dream Lanes for almost four years before fire leveled the structure. It was demolished three weeks later after an investigation by fire marshals and insurance representatives.

Officially, the cause of the fire remains undetermined, but Brenda and Randy learned that it started between the suspended ceiling and the roof.

Luckily, the neighboring buildings only sustained minor smoke and water damage, said Brenda.

&uot;I guess that’s about the only thing that could have been a lot worse. The fire department did a great job of containing it, and we’re relieved that nobody was hurt,&uot; she said. &uot;It was the big news in Wells for the year 2000.&uot;

Brenda said that many people in Wells have been hoping that the couple would be able to build a new alley. She regularly gets questions about it. She hopes Wells residents aren’t too disappointed now that the final decision not to rebuild has been made.

&uot;It’s a business that will really be missed in Wells,&uot; Brenda said. &uot;A lot of people will probably have to give up bowling unless they’re willing to drive a good distance.&uot;

When the Jones family took over the bowling alley in August of 1996, they had a lot of remodeling work to do.

&uot;The whole place was tangerine orange and cocoa brown,&uot; Brenda said. &uot;We put a lot of time and money into it over the four years, so it was devastating to us. We lost all of our sweat equity.&uot;

The entire Jones family is still active in bowling, mainly in Albert Lea. Randy is particularly well known in the area for his high scores.

&uot;We could never give up bowling as a pastime,&uot; Brenda said. &uot;My husband is crazy about it. We even met in a bowling alley. Both of our sons our good bowlers. It’s just a huge part of our family life.&uot; Now that the sale of the property is almost complete, the Joneses are relieved to put the whole tragedy behind them.

&uot;It was a terrible night, but we did learn a lot about our neighbors and friends,&uot; Brenda said. &uot;Most people were very supportive and generous to us in the weeks after the fire. That’s why we have chosen to stay in Wells.&uot;