OLEAN – A ceremonial ribbon was cut Thursday for a new $8 million facility that will bring many forms of family entertainment and athletics to the area.
Good Times of Olean, located near the softball fields at Forness Park, is a 40,000-square-foot building offering 16 bowling alleys, beach volleyball courts, batting cages, a game room, putt putt golf, kan jam and many other recreational activities plus an event center and three distinct eating options.
It will employ 150 full- and part-time people from around the area, even bringing a few back to their homes.
“Our bar manager is from Bolivar,” said West Long, owner of the facility. “She was working up in the Buffalo area. We were able to bring her home and offer her a place to work.”
The 1,400-seat event center can be used for concerts, indoor sporting events in the winter, expos, proms and several other uses, according to Shannon Barie, a marketing executive employed by the venue. As the facility opened, the space was being set up for regional blues artists to celebrate the opening, as well as a performance by country music star Keith Anderson.
The facility has attracted a lot of attention around the area, as any building its size would, but according to one of the dignitaries at the ribbon cutting, its reach goes beyond the Olean area.
“The buzz around the Western New York region has been this place, Good Times of Olean,” State Sen. Catherine M. Young said. “We are always looking to enhance the quality of life in our area and I think this is going to be the right thing to do it.”
Olean Mayor Linda Witte said the project is exactly what was envisioned when the East State Street refurbishing was planned and started to take shape.
“[Council President] Ann McLaughlin and I were telling people that, if we fixed the street, something good is going to happen,” she said. “This is the start of a lot of good things.”
One of the biggest focuses for the project, according to Long, is creating a place where families can come to together and have fun. Several league possibilities exist as well. Darts, pool, cards and many other ideas abound, he said.
Bowlers can go to the Snak Shak for a pizza, burger or any other food expected in a bowling facility. If bowlers, or event-goers of any kind, are looking for a more substantial meal, a trip to the Hammer Back Bar and Grill is in order.
The Hammer Back has the feel of a saloon. It offers customers a chance to sit and have a signature burger, one of which bears the restaurant’s name.
One of the things that makes this area special, according to developer Todd Scott, is the mezzanine that overlooks the events center, just off the bar and grill area. The mezzanine is also an adult game area, he said, housing ping pong tables, dart boards, pool tables and card tables.
The Point is a mid- to upscale steak and seafood restaurant that will bring to mind the historic side of the Olean, Portville and Allegany area with pictures such as an aerial image of Bradner Stadium and ball fields of Forness Park just after they were constructed.