BENTON, IL (KFVS) - The Benton Bowling Center has been a part of the Benton community for more than 50 years. But now the current owner says he's going to have to close the doors, without some help from city leaders.
Mike Fitzpatrick began bowling at the Benton Bowling Center when he was 17 years old. And for the past 17 years he's been the owner of his childhood hang out.
But, now his dream may be coming to an end.
"The economy's been bad for the last four to five years. And we've got to the point where we're going to have to get another source of income," said Fitzpatrick. "Or we're going to have to close the doors. Because we're spending more then we're making."
Fitzpatrick has decided to apply for a liquor license to help bring in some extra cash to the business.
"Just beer is all we're going to sell. And we won't sell it until after 5 p.m., we won't sell it during the day. And we won't sell it on Sunday."
But, before he can do that he's got to get the Benton City Council to approve his application.
"Since November they've been giving me the run around for about five or six months," Fitzpatrick said. " And our time is running out. So we don't think we'll last two more months. And then we'll probably have to close the doors."
Which means the time is running out for the bowlers who have been knocking down the pins for several years.
"I've been bowling here for the past 17 years," said Mary Horton of Benton. "I bowl on Monday mornings, Tuesday evenings and my husband and I bowl on Fridays in the leagues. And if the bowling alley is not here, I guess we'll sit at home. Because there's no where else to go."
And some of the bowlers worry about what will happen to their town if the business closes.
"We're losing a lot of businesses already. And if we lose this one it's going to impact Benton," said Freda Broadway of Benton. "We have bowlers from Sesser, Christopher, Whittington and Thompsonville they come from all over three nights a week and bowl."
Benton's Mayor Gary Kraft says the council voted against Fitzpatrick because they didn't want another liquor license in their town.