Edmonds mom Teri Terrano knows that the odds are stacked against her for saving her community’s only bowling alley, but she is committed to doing all she can to prevent Robin Hood Lanes from being razed to make way for a Walgreens store.
An avid bowler, Terrano and other Robin Hood Lanes supporters have been at local stores and community gathering places during recent weeks, taking a poll of what local residents think about the permit application by Walgreens to build a new store that would replace the 51-year-old bowling alley at Edmonds Way and 100th Avenue West. So far, they have collected more than 1,000 signatures in favor of keeping bowling alley at its current Westgate business district location, she said.
On Saturday, Jan. 21, Robin Hood Lanes supporters are planning an 11 a.m. rally outside the bowing alley to attract attention to their cause and to send a clear message to Walgreens: While the national chain is welcome to locate in Edmonds, they should be looking somewhere else than the property on which the bowling alley sits, Terrano said. Meanwhile, she has compiled a list of contact information for key Walgreens’ executives, which she will be making available at the bowling alley, urging supporters to engage in a letter-writing campaign.
Rhune Harkestad of Kidder Matthews, representing San Francisco-based property developer Seven Hills, which works with Walgreens stores to acquire property for its stores, has predicted that the City of Edmonds permit process is likely to take four to six months.
The land on which Robin Hood Lanes stands is owned by an Edmonds family while the building is owned by John Gunther, who used to own the bowling alley. Robin Hood Lanes owner Mike Gubsch said that he and Gunther had been trying to buy the land but the family was unwilling to sell.
Harkestad said that the property owners’ lease with Gunther has a provision that allows them to break the lease when the land is sold.
Assuming the city approves the permit, the bowling alley would be razed and construction would begin in late summer 2012 and the Walgreens would be open for business by February 2013 at the earliest, Harkestad said.
As for Terrano, she has been coordinating support through the Robin Hood Lanes Against Walgreens Facebook group page (this is a closed Facebook group, so you have to send a request to Terrano to participate), which included a report on her Thursday meeting with Mayor Dave Earling and Community Services and Economic Development Director Stephen Clifton. Here’s part of that report here:
They don’t object with our efforts to fight this and they understand how valuable the bowling alley is to the community of Edmonds and don’t want to see it go. Unfortunately, their hands are tied to the guidelines of the permit process. If Walgreens has enough money to sway the land owners into selling, well it comes down to the zoning and what the rules say about what can and cannot go there.
While I was hopeful that there was some clause stipulating the community’s say on the fact that we don’t need a 3rd pharmacy on that corner, there is none. If we as a community don’t want a Walgreens on that corner, or a Walmart for that matter, or 5 banks…well, we apparently have no say. I’m still having a hard time with this one!
I think what we need to do is refocus our efforts against Walgreens. Not necessarily because we don’t want a Walgreens (because maybe one downtown for the seniors who can’t make the jaunt up to Bartells and QFC pharmacy because they cannot drive and there is no pharmacies in our downtown), BUT we don’t need a Walgreens taking over the spot where our 50+ year, successful, community bowling alley sits.
Walgreens has many options available to them in Edmonds and the Westgate area. The benefits they may bring to Edmonds hardly out weighs the benefit of Robin Hood Lanes and its gift to the kids, teenagers, seniors, leagues, community, etc.
LET’S LET THEM KNOW THIS!!!
And here’s Terrano’s letter to Robin Hood Lanes owner Mike Gubsch:
We want you to know that there is a fast growing Edmonds community group doing everything we can to save Robin Hood Lanes. You have been an integral part of the family entertainment in Edmonds ever since you first opened over 50 years ago. Losing your facility will be detrimental to our community.
Robin Hood Lanes is one of the last local Edmonds businesses that is focused on fun for the entire community and continues to do so well even during our tough economy times. There are so many people that rely on and use your location for fun and entertainment as well as education and an indoor safe gathering place. Included in this list of people are over a thousand league bowlers that fill the bowling alley almost every night of the week. These people are not just local from Edmonds; they travel from as far away as Federal Way, Marysville and Kingston, to only name a few. There are the senior citizens, as old as 90 and the kids as young as 5. There are the local high school teams that practice and have tournaments; as well as those students there on evenings and weekends who rely upon an indoor structured activity, away from drugs and trouble so present in their lives at this age.
We know Robin Hood Lanes is one of the reasons Edmonds is so great. It is really unique to have the bowling alley as well as the Theaters, the Farmers Market, the Taste of Edmonds, the 4th of July Festivities, the Waterfront and Arts Festivals, etc. Edmonds is one of the last cities in Washington that has historically been able to provide the same things as Seattle but in a more intimate and family oriented way. In this we think Edmonds is one of the last places in Washington that still is in touch with the original soul of the city. If any one of these businesses or activities were to shut down it would be affect the entire city as a whole.
It is so hard for many to understand how a successful bowling alley could be replaced by a large pharmacy chain that many feel will not survive here and are perfectly happy with Bartell Drugs and QFC pharmacy. Other lots are vacant and available in the Westgate area; why must Walgreens choose this location that so integral to our community?
We hope for the kids, the teenagers, the seniors, the families and the community of Edmonds that our voices will be heard and in some way Robin Hood Lanes can be with us for at least another 50 years! Thank you for everything you have done and we are hopeful our community efforts will make a difference!!
Robin Hood Lanes against Walgreens,