Re-Opened Swanton Sport Center Celebrates Eight Years in Business

The following is a reprint of an article that appeared in the Swanton Enterprise for the reopening of the Swanton Sports Center on September 25, 2013.

Bowling Returns to Swanton

Bowling is back in Swanton and Fulton County.  A ribbon cutting ceremony was held Friday for the recently reopened Swanton Sports Center on North Main Street in Swanton.

Tracy Ratliff, former Swanton resident and current Toledo businessman, has a large and unique antique car collection that includes a 1981 DeLorean.  This iconic automobile does not come with a flux capacitor but that has not prevented Tracy from traveling back to the future, as he has resurrected and reopened the Swanton Sports Center, formally known as KC Lanes.

The 20-lane bowling center, which also includes a bar and grill and large banquet hall, shuttered its doors at the end of 2010.  It sat empty until Tracy, looking for a building to house his car business, bought the dilapidated structure in August of 2012.

He charged two of his employees, son Boyd Ratliff and grandson Kevin Ford, with the task of getting the facility in shape to open as a body and engine repair shop.  The task would include extensive roofing, electrical work, plumbing, cleaning and painting.

However, as work began, residents passing by saw vehicles in the parking lot and pulled in to see what was going on.  They all had the same question, “When are you going to open up the bowling alley?”

After dozens of the visits in a short one-month period, Tracy gave in to the will of the people and decided to restore the building to its original purpose.  The lanes are open and the bar and grill has been converted to a sports bar and grill.  There is an arcade room and adjacent pool room.  The banquet hall is available to rent as well as the meeting room next to it.  Future plans include bring back league bowling for all ages.

The first big event at the Sports Center will be a tribute to Dick Slawinski, the man who owned the business from 1956 to 1992.  Slawinski, along with his wife Norma and their eight children brought a great deal of joy and fond memories to the area and this event, to be held on November 10th from noon to 5:00 PM, will honor his contributions.  All proceeds will be donated to the Swanton Rotary Scholarship Fund and Odyssey Hospice.

Pictured (L to R):  Ted Haselman, Jeff Schlade, Ann Roth, Charlene O’Connell, Bill O’Connell, Kevin Ford, Boyd Ratliff, Hal Stine, Mary Slawinski Stine, Neil Toeppe.  (Photo by Drew Stambaugh)

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