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New owners continue Mattoon Lanes tradition

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Mattoon Lanes 12/11/15

From left, co-owners Jim Jackson, Kathy Meeker and Matt Meeker are pictured at Mattoon Lanes in Mattoon on Dec. 11. Not pictured is co-owner Toni Jackson.

MATTOON -- Bowling league teammates Jim Jackson and Matt Meeker had been worried that Mattoon Lanes would not reopen after it closed for the summer.

Consquently, the two men and their wives, Toni Jackson and Kathy Meeker, teamed up to purchase Mattoon Lanes in late September and keep the bowling traditions going there.

Matt Meeker said their first priority was to get the alley's 12 bowling lanes and the accompanying pin setters up and running again. He said they accomplished this goal, adding that he enjoys taking visitors behind the scenes to show them how these mechanisms function.

In addition, Meeker said they have been focusing on giving the 64-year-old bowling alley building a thorough cleaning and some needed "tender loving care."

Meeker said they have put in a lot of hours staffing Mattoon Lanes and learning how to operate a bowling alley. Still, he said they have enjoyed visiting with bowlers and watching them have fun.

The bowling alley is a place where parents can spend time together with their friends and their children, Meeker said. Lane bumpers and bowling ball ramps are available there for children to use.

Mattoon Lanes is regularly open 4-11 p.m. Monday to Thursday, 4 p.m.-1 a.m. Friday, 11 a.m.-1 a.m. Saturday, and 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Sunday. Meeker said they turn on the alley's black lights and disco lights for Cosmic Bowling from 8 p.m. to close on Fridays and 10 p.m. to close on Saturdays.

During Christmas break, Meeker said Mattoon Lanes will open at 11 a.m. every day to serve families whose children are out of school or who are hosting visitors from out of town. He said the alley is also waiving the rental charge for bowling shoes at this time of year.

Meeker said Mattoon Lanes offers a fully stocked bar and will have video gaming machines in place by the end of the month. Chips, candy bars and other snacks are available for purchase. He said they plan to add pizza, nachos, and pretzels to the menu early next year.

Customers can purchase bowling balls, bags, gloves and shoes through Mattoon Lanes, as well as have holes drilled in their bowling balls.

Mattoon Lanes is located along north U.S. Route 45 in Mattoon. More information is available by calling the bowling alley at 217-234-3735 or visiting the Mattoon Lanes page on Facebook.

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Rob Stroud is a reporter for the JG-TC, covering the city of Mattoon, Lake Land College, Cumberland County and areas including Oakland, Casey and Martinsville.

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