The Town & Country Bowl owner who said he will rebuild at the Rock Island site after fire demolished the structure has bought property in Moline with plans to build a new bowling alley there.
That doesn’t necessarily mean Frank Miroballi won’t rebuild at 3636 11th St., Rock Island, because as of Wednesday he still owned the property.
“He says he will do something, but he doesn’t want to announce plans till he has his entire plan together,” Rock Island Mayor Dennis Pauley said. “We’re assuming it’s a bowling alley, but we don’t know for sure.”
Miroballi, who couldn’t be reached for comment, has purchased the old Cohen Furniture building, 4401 44th Ave., Moline.
Moline City Planner Ray Forsythe said Wednesday that Miroballi approached the city three months ago with an architect who specializes in bowling alleys and pitched reusing the Cohen building as an “entertainment complex.” Besides a bowling alley, Miroballi wants to add a restaurant, bar and other games to the 48,000-square-foot building.
Rock Island County records show Miroballi bought the Moline property on June 23 for $1.4 million.
Forsythe said he’s still waiting to hear back from Miroballi since their first meeting, adding he hasn’t seen any work done on the property.
After a fire destroyed Town & Country in December, Rock Island was left with no bowling alleys. Moline has a bowling alley — Fargo Dance and Sports, 4204 Avenue of the Cities.
Forsythe said the city of Moline encourages Miroballi’s development of a new bowling alley in the Cohen building, because the property has been vacant for at least six years.
“It’s not generating any sales tax,” he said.
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“I’m assuming there’s a need for bowling on the Illinois side and in the entire Quad-Cities,” Forsythe added.
Moline isn’t offering Miroballi tax incentives to build in Moline as long as he has an agreement with Rock Island to rebuild there as well, Forsythe said.
“If Rock Island said go to Moline because we can’t provide incentives to stay,” then the city will reconsider, Forsythe said.
Although Jim Enright’s family started Town & Country Bowl in the early 1970s, Enright said that from a business standpoint, “Moline is a better location than Rock Island.”
He said he “wouldn’t mind” if another bowling alley reopened in the spot where his grandfather, James P. Enright, opened Town & Country decades ago as a hobby after spending years in the coal business.
“If another bowling alley came in and called themselves Town & Country, I wouldn’t have a problem with it,” Enright said Wednesday while visiting his grandfather’s gravesite at Calvary Cemetery in Rock Island. “That would honor the history. I think people in Rock Island would like to have a bowling alley.”