Update: Legislator Changes Mind On Bowling Alley Purchase

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Lewis County legislator Paul Stanford now says he was wrong to vote to purchase the Lewis Lanes bowling alley.

After defending the decision buy the Lowville bowling alley earlier Tuesday, Stanford told 7 News late Tuesday night that he is prepared to change his vote on the purchase.

Legislators voted 6-4 Monday to purchase Lewis Lanes for $1 million to provide the county with much needed office space. The vote, which came with little public warning, touched off a storm of criticism in Lewis County Tuesday. If Stanford alone changes his vote, the legislature would be tied and the deal would fail.

Stanford said he hopes the legislature will meet again, perhaps as soon as this week, to reconsider its vote.

Our reporting from earlier Tuesday, including Stanford's comments from earlier in the day...

Bowlers like Kendra Bigda are striking back after hearing Lewis Lanes bowling alley will be closing its doors for good next spring.

"I can't believe this. It sucks. I got my first strike there," she said.

Lewis County lawmakers voted to buy the bowling alley for $1 million to help solve the county's need for office space.

Plenty of residents are furious.

Just ask people at Lloyd's Diner.

"Why would we take an economically viable business - a business that's on the tax rolls creating money for the county - pull it off the tax rolls and turn that into a county building which pays nothing in taxes? I think it's ludicrous what's happened here," said Lee Hinkleman, a former president of the county's chamber of commerce.

"My strongest feeling is that this town needs a bowling alley. We have AMF manufacturing bowling pins right here and we're not going to have a bowling alley," said Clifford Boshart, owner of Boshart's Auto Sales.

One resident, Erik Griffin, even started a petition.

On Tuesday, he had 23 signatures.  

"I hope to get the county legislators to overturn their decision," he said.

Legislator Paul Stanford (D. - 6th District) voted for the purchase.

He points out the bowling alley was going to shut down anyway and it was better deal than another building legislators looked at.

"This idea here would save the taxpayers more money than the Commons. It's only a four-year-old building. It's got great wiring, great heating, great cooling and you can double-deck in here. So it would be good," he said.

Stanford says, the bowling alley's owners approached the legislature.

It was, he says, the best deal available now.

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Wednesday, October 1, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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