Event Zona’s bowling lanes in Meridian are expected to be open to bowlers later this month.
After the closing of Family Bowl Lanes at North Hills in December, its former owner, Praveen Ravi, negotiated a deal to bring Event Zona to part of the former Winn Dixie store on Highway 45 North.
Planet Fitness opened last year and occupies the other portion of the former grocery store.
The Event Zona family entertainment center, which also has locations in Tupelo and Columbus, will feature bowling lanes, a trampoline area, an arcade, a pizza kitchen and other activities.
It’s meant to appeal to a wide array of customers, but for local bowlers, it means finally having a place in Meridian to resume local bowling leagues.
Since the closing of Family Bowl Lanes, bowlers have been traveling to Laurel and Philadelphia to participate in league play.
M.A. Copeland, who was a consulting manager for Family Bowl Lanes and is now a consultant for Ravi during the transition to Event Zona, said work on the bowling lanes is hopefully nearing completion.
“We’re hoping to be open later in August,” Copeland said last week.
Event Zona was originally targeted to open in March, but work has taken longer than expected. Jason Pierce, who headed up the bowling leagues at Family Bowl Lanes and will do the same at Event Zona, said the local bowling association will have to certify Event Zona’s lanes to make sure they’re up to the specs of the national sanctioning body.
Once that gets approved, and the lanes are completed, league play should begin shortly thereafter.
Pierce said last week that Copeland was wanting league bowlers to come in this week and give the lanes a test run.
“Hopefully the week of (Aug.) 19 we’ll have our league meeting, then start the week of the 26th,” Pierce said.
In addition to bowling in Laurel and Philadelphia, local bowlers competed in State Games and the state tournament, and some even went to nationals in Las Vegas, Pierce said. All of them have been eagerly awaiting the opening of Event Zona’s lanes.
“We’re really close to having a bowling alley back in Meridian, which is great news for bowlers,” Pierce said. “Everyone seems excited about it.”
Now, instead of having to drive 45 minutes to either Laurel or Philadelphia, Meridian bowlers can once again enjoy competing at a more convenient location.
“I work on the south side of town, so I can now leave my work on 17th Avenue and be at the bowling alley in two minutes,” Pierce said. “The trampolines and arcades won’t come until later, but we want to get things started for the leagues, because we’ve been without a bowling alley for six to eight months.”
League games previously took place at Family Bowl Lanes before Ravi sold the complex to Northcrest Baptist Church in August 2018. It first opened in 1960 and operated continuously except for a few months in 1965.
Another entertainment center is scheduled to open later this year at Bonita Lakes Mall. Hype Indoor Adventures, an indoor recreation and entertainment park, will occupy the space previously used by Sears, the mall announced in July.
The 92,000-square-foot facility will include climbing walls, 150 wall-to-wall trampolines, an Olympic trampoline area, a high ropes course, laser tag, foam pits with battle beams, axe throwing, aerial silks, an indoor electric go-kart track and batting cages, according to the mall.
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