Jackson County Times

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Friday, August 20, 2010

Kindel Lanes Amusement Center SAGA

A Dream Turned Into A Nightmare

By Sid Riley

Jeff Kindelspire’s two year battle to save the business he has nurtured and loved for thirty years came to an end on Thursday. It ended in foreclosure action on the north entrance to the Court House as the bank seized ownership of the popular Marianna recreation center. Kindel Lanes is another victim of our nation’s faltering economic and banking systems.

Kindelspire had a dream. He wanted to create a large, complete amusement center with arcades, putt putt, batting cages, climbing walls, mazes, laser light battling, a go-cart track, a lounge, and several party rooms for birthday parties and other special events. He felt the enterprise would draw youth and adults from adjoining counties to Marianna for a night of fun.

At the center of this complex would be the bowling center which Kindelspire has successfully owned and operated for thirty years. It is the primary gathering place for local young people, and a source of social bowling enjoyment for a multitude of local bowling enthusiast.

Instead of this dream of an amusement center featuring clean hometown fun and enjoyment, Kindelspire ended with a nightmarish eyesore caused by an unfinished, unfunded project. The story is one plagued by many costly factors, including a horrendous, ill-located, and costly retention pond, a new arcade building which never enjoyed the benefit of air conditioning through two miserably hot summers, and vacant space which was intended to house revenue producing attractions. Although the bowling center continued to operate at a profitable level, the burden of the incomplete new additions was impossible for the business to support.

As a result, the business slowly sank into an ever deepening financial hole while Kindelspire desperately sought investors, banking support, or government assistance. None appeared to save the day for the business, and Thursday was doomsday. Marti Coley, the JCDC, and others tried in a last minute attempt to develop a solution to the situation, but it was too little-too late.
Stays Open Despite Foreclosure

By Bo McMullian

Kindel Lanes, now the property of the Bank of Jackson County after a foreclosure sale Thursday Aug. 12, will stay open for business.

“We’ll get a lease agreement and keep it open until we find an investor,” bank President Tom Wilder told the TIMES after the sale. He bid “$100 by the plaintiff” at the public sale in the courthouse front lobby. The bank has a “little over $2 million” in the property, he said.

Former owner Jeff Kindelspire, who attended the sale, also spoke with the TIMES. “This went perfectly as we had hoped,” he said. “The worst that could have happened was for Walgreens or someone to have bought the whole thing.” He also thinks the bowling alleys will stay open. “I’ll rent or lease from the bank,” he said, “and seek the money for a new loan.”

Kindelspire said the five-acre site is worth “three and one-half million dollars.” He opened Kindel Lanes on Dec. 8, 1980.

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