It’s been almost eight years since the village of Brookfield ordered the old Brookfield Bowl at 3415 Maple Ave. to close its doors after inspectors found it to be structurally unsound, seven years since a Cook County judge gave the OK for the building to be demolished and four years since the village of Brookfield acquired the building.

Over the past several months, the village has been working with a development firm, Tartan Builders, on a deal for the firm to acquire the site and construct a multifamily residential building on the site.

The village supports the plan conceptually. Both sides have been working out the details, and while things appear to be getting close, there’s been no news yet.

While we certainly hope the village can quickly come to a solution for the property that’s beneficial to the Eight Corners business district and the Brookfield community as a whole, we’re becoming increasingly concerned about the old bowling alley itself.

More to the point, we believe the Brookfield Bowl is unsecure and a potential serious safety hazard.

Twice within the past couple of months, people have broken into the bowling alley. In August, an anonymous caller phoned police to report that the doors of the bowling alley were unlocked.

Police found no one inside, but they did note the amount of general clutter left behind inside the building.

On Sept. 22, a Brookfield resident who happened to be walking past the bowling alley at about 4 a.m. noticed someone leave the bowling alley. Sometime later, while walking past the bowling alley again, that person observed a “glow” visible through the glass front doors.

The bowling alley was on fire. Had that resident not decided to take an early morning walk, the village could have had a terrible blaze on its hands. 

Police continue to investigate the incident and have released very few details about it. The Landmark has learned, however, that the fire did cause serious damage inside the bowling alley. The fire, we understand, was also not accidental.

In short, the bowling alley needs to come down before the village has a tragedy on its hands.

Perhaps a deal with Tartan Builders is imminent and the building can be demolished quickly as part of that deal. That would be the best solution.

However, if negotiations with Tartan Builders drag on – and we’ve seen with respect to the former Brookfield Moose property in the 4000 block of DuBois Boulevard that sure deals can wither on the vine – the village needs to begin thinking seriously about demolishing the Brookfield Bowl in the interest of public safety.