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Half-century-old Westside bowling alley closes suddenly; owners were behind on taxes; property is for sale

A Westside bowling alley for more than 50 years, Bear Creek Lanes recently closed. The owners had fallen behind on their property taxes, according to the County Treasurer's Office. The property is for sale, but a real-estate agent says some of the bowling-related equipment has already been sold.
Westside Pioneer photo
       Bear Creek Lanes, the only bowling location in the Westside area for many years, closed recently for what appear to be tax reasons.
       The 24-lane establishment has operated at 1232 S. 21st St. since 1958, according to a person who had worked there (who contacted the Westside Pioneer about a week after this article first appeared to clarify some information). The Assessor's Office lists the date as 1961, which is when the bar went in, the former employee said. An old newspaper clipping has since been provided from another source, showing a grand-opening date of Nov. 15, 1958, with the facility originally named "Ute Lanes" and the original owner Tony Raskob.
       According to information from the El Paso County Treasurer's Office, the current ownership (officially titled 1232 S. 21st Street Associates LLC) failed to pay its property taxes this year.
       As a result, the 2-plus-acre site (which technically consists of two parcels) was auctioned at the annual county tax sale Oct. 22. Treasurer's records state that a investor - name left confidential - paid off the property taxes of $14,209.99 (including interest) which was owed at that time for both properties.
       That does not mean the investor now owns them, but to get them back, the 1232 group would have to pay the investor the current back-tax amount, which has risen to more than $14,500, thanks to accruing interest, a Treasurer's spokesperson explained.
       The separately taxed personal property inside the building is not in arrears, according to the Treasurer's Office.
       In a story on an unrelated topic in 2005, the Westside Pioneer spoke with Curt Jones, who identified himself as having owned Bear Creek Lanes at that time for 11 years. After learning about the closure, the Pioneer tried to reach Jones through the bowling alley number (the only contact method provided on the Bear Creek Lanes website), but it rang without a message machine coming on.
       Regarding real estate alone, according to the County Assessor's Office, the 1232 group has been the listed owner since 1999, when it paid $748,300 for both parcels in a single purchase.
       According to second-hand reports, the lanes closed unexpectedly this fall, with some people only finding out by showing up and seeing a "closed" sign on the door. However, the former employee said that members of the bowling alley's leagues were told what was happening and were even helped in being set up with other bowling establishments.
       Additional information was provided by real estate agent Cliff Snyder. He is with the Brunk & Brunk agency, which has posted an “available” sign in front of the property. Snyder told the Pioneer he is trying to sell the site (both parcels with the building) for Curt Jones. The asking price is $1,325,000.
       Asked if the bowling alley is still operational, Snyder said that “some of the pins and a lot of furniture, fixtures and equipment” have already been sold. However, he added “some of the pins are still there. You could go in and bowl if you wanted to.”
       Based on Treasurer's Office information, if the property does sell, before taking possession the new owner would also have to pay off the investor who took care of the taxes, including interest.

Westside Pioneer article
(Posted 12/4/14, updated 12/14/14; Business: Changes)

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