EDITOR'S NOTE: This story was written in response to reader-submitted query through Open Source, a platform where readers can ask Richland Source’s newsroom to investigate a question.
MANSFIELD ─ Park Lanes was built in 1959 and became one of the premier bowling locations in Ohio, with numerous statewide events taking place there over decades of operation.
Those are mere memories today, as demolition at the location has been ongoing. Some, like reader Sharon Urschel, have wonered what will happen at the spot was the former home to the 45,000-square-foot facility.
“What is going to happen once they complete the demolition of Park Lane? Will it become an empty lot or is there plans for something to be built on that land?” she asked the question through the Open Source platform on Richland Source’s website.
The 1410 Park Avenue West address is now owned by 1404 PAW LLC. According to the property report, the company bought the five-acre-parcel about six months ago for $137,500. The owner is Randy Payne, the president of ADENA Corporation.
Kenton Smith, project manager for ADENA, said as of now, the plan is to use the property as a parking lot for the Buckeye Community School, which is next to the parcel. Payne also owns the land where the school sits.
“No plan, as of now, to build anything back on the property,” Smith said.
Park Lanes was on Mansfield’s Miracle Mile, the section of Park Avenue West between Trimble and Home Roads. The area was full of businesses and traffic back in the 1960s and 1970s.
The city of Mansfield and the community has been trying to bring back the glory. The goal is to create a special improvement district (SID) for the area. According to Downtown Akron Partnership, the SID is a non-profit organization that property owners assess themselves to provide funding for promotion and support to improve the economy. The organization successfully pulled together a 42-block SID in downtown Akron.
Mansfield Economic Development director Tim Bowersock said business and property owners, representatives from the city and Richland Area Chamber and Economic Development were meeting once in a while over the issue before the state locked down in March.
Bowersock said the group hoped to upgrade the property on Park Avenue West, especially the street’s appearance. Everyone agreed that improving the lighting would help. Members also looked forward to more retail businesses coming.
But the project has not made significant progress. Besides the COVID-19 pandemic stopped the community’s meetings, Bowersock said it still needs more property owners to get involved. The expense for the improvement was one reason keeping people from committing to the project.