News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Kegler's Korner

December 9, 2007

Kegler's Korner: Nonsmoking alleys a breath of fresh air

TERRE HAUTE — A breath of fresh air has been enjoyed — at least by most people — inside Terre Haute’s open-to-the-public bowling establishments since Vigo County enacted a clean indoor air ordinance which went into effect on July 1.

In the past, cigarette smoke used to hit people in the face upon entering Vigo Bowl, Terre Haute Bowling Center or Imperial Lanes.

But that is no longer the case.

The Bowling Center and Imperial Lanes still allow smoking in their enclosed lounges, but Vigo Bowl took the concept one step further.

“We are nonsmoking in the whole building,” stated Vigo Bowl’s Gordon Geckeler. “I’d say the majority of the people like it … maybe a half-dozen [bowlers] go outside to smoke. We provide them covers for their [bowling] shoes.”

“It definitely smells better. Most nonsmokers are grateful,” stated THBC general manager Rick Braden. “I wish it had happened years ago. We lost a couple, three teams to the [Kerman] Grotto so they could smoke.”

“We hoped [the ordinance] would help our open bowling, but with the economy the way it is it’s hard to tell if this has been a factor.”

“Certain league bowlers are not happy having to go the bar [to smoke],” noted Imperial Lanes’ manager Phil Cooper. “But family groups like bringing kids into a nonsmoking building.

“Our open bowling is down, but that is probably due in part to the economy. It has been more detrimental to business in our pool room.”

Cooper is philosophical about the situation, adding, “It is what it is … it’s not going to change.”

Bowlers at the local Elks Country Club, Grotto and Eagles can still smoke inside their facilities. Vigo County’s nonsmoking ordinance currently exempts civic organizations, service clubs, fraternal or patriotic organizations or private membership organizations.

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