Stadium renovation?

by Bob Johnson 0

Reno city officials are serious about keeping the USBC Open Championships and USBC Women’s Championships coming to town after the current tournament-hosting contract expires in 2018.

On Wednesday, the City Council voted unanimously to impose a $2 room tax on seven downtown hotels with non-restricted gaming licenses: the Silver Legacy, Circus Circus, Eldorado, Sands Regency, Siena, Cal Neva and Harrah’s.

The fee is expected to generate about $2.3 million per year, which would be used for revenue-backed bonds to fund improvements to publicly-owned tourism and entertainment facilities within a one-mile radius of the downtown area, including the National Bowling Stadium and the Livestock Events Center.

The Livestock Center already has lost several major events due to its deteriorating condition, and officials fear the Bowling Stadium could lose USBC tournaments unless improvements are made to that facility, which opened in 1995.

Although the Council did not mention specific improvements, Joe Kelley, acting President and CEO of the Reno-Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority, said the building could receive a new facade, as well as modernization of its fourth floor, where the bowling lanes are located.

Approval of the room tax came just a week before city officials are scheduled to meet with USBC officials about a contract extension during International Bowl Expo in Texas.

Bob Johnson

Bob Johnson has received more national writing awards than any other bowling writer — close to 70 over the course of his 40-year career. He began at age 16 as a staff writer and then assistant editor for the weekly Pacific Bowler newspaper in his native California, and within three years was writing feature stories for Bowlers Journal. He has written for the magazine ever since, except for a five-year span when he was hired as the founding editor of another magazine. He moved to Chicago in 2000 and spent 13 years in the Windy City, including five as Bowlers Journal’s Editor. In 1975, Johnson received the Robert E. Kennedy Award as California’s top undergraduate high school journalist. Five years earlier, on the lanes, he had shared the Bantam Division Doubles championship in the Orange County Junior Bowling Association Championships. Today, he continues to work full-time for Bowlers Journal as its Senior Editor, to write his popular “Strikes Me” column, and to edit Luby Publishing Inc.’s weekly business-to-business Cyber Report.