AUSTINTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Few things say Austintown like Wedgewood Lanes. Opened in 1962 and closed now for about a year and a half, the building that once housed the bowling alley has deteriorated to a point where a township trustee thinks it may be time to demolish it.
Austintown trustee Jim Davis fully understands the significance of Wedgewood Lanes.
“I can remember coming here to watch friends bowl when all 50 lanes were being used. This place was hopping,” Davis said.
But not anymore. The paint is now peeling around the main entrance, and while the brick building still looks solid from the outside, Davis says it’s not safe inside.
“From what we’ve been told from the lanes and the condition, from water dripping and leaking onto the lanes, and just no reinvestment into the building over the course of time from the old ownership. It would take way too much money to rehab it to a bowling facility,” Davis said.
The Mahoning County auditor’s website shows that the building, along with what was the Austintown Cinema and a series of nightclubs next door, is owned by a company called Carrozzino Plaza. We tried contacting the owner but never heard back. The company also owes $40,000 in back property taxes.
“Well, the township’s been taking care of this property for over a year and a half, between cutting the grass to picking up trash,” Davis said.
Most recently, gutters and part of the facade were hanging from the Raccoon Road side. The township’s road department cleaned it up.
“This is all at the taxpayer’s expense and this is unacceptable,” Davis said.
Davis also says the building is unsafe.
“The fire chief says this is a ‘do not enter’ structure. He has grave concerns about the safety of his firemen, and if this building were to catch fire, our guys aren’t going in,” Davis said.
So, what would Davis like to see done with the building and the land?
“Ultimately, I’d love to see it knocked down and add on to this plaza. This plaza’s been very successful. There’s not an empty spot in this plaza and I don’t know many places that can say that about a plaza,” Davis said.
Davis says he has not had a conversation yet with the owner of Carrozzino Plaza about fixing it up or demolishing it.