NEW CASTLE, Colorado - The Burning Mountain Bowl and Sports Bar is soon to become the New Hope Church, if all goes according to plan.
An elder and "moderator" of the church, Russell Talbott, confirmed on Friday that New Hope "is making an attempt" to buy itself a place of worship after years of temporary quarters.
Currently, the church meets every Sunday at Coal Ridge High School, located between New Castle and Silt along U.S. Highway 6.
Talbott said a sales contract has been signed for the bowling alley, which is located at 880 Castle Valley Blvd. in the City Market shopping center. But, he said, the transfer of the property will not take place until the town of New Castle approves the use of the building as a church.
The matter goes before the Town Council on April 16, for consideration of a conditional use permit that would allow the church to operate there even though the underlying zoning does not include churches in its list of permitted uses.
Talbott declined to reveal the sale price of the building.
He said the church has been looking for a location for some time, and learned recently that the bowling alley was up for sale.
"It just sort of fit our needs," Talbott said of the property. "If everything goes well, we'll hopefully be closing on it some time at the first of next month."
Then, he said, the building will be remodeled over the summer and open in the fall.
"We hope to open up before school starts next year," he said, adding that the plan is to make the church a sort of community center.
"We'd like to see it used seven days a week, not just on Sundays," he said. "The church's passion is to be a positive influence within the community."
According to Talbott, the church plans to build a full, theatrical stage in its new quarters, and to have meeting rooms and other facilities that could be made available to groups other than the church itself.
"We see it as a facility that could be used for anything, from a conference to a community concert," he said enthusiastically.
The church elders even plan to retain a couple of the bowling lanes, he said, in case someone wants to include bowling in an event at the facility.
"We feel it'll be a community enhancement," Talbott said.
Noting that the New Hope Church is independent in many ways, he said it is "loosely affiliated with the American Baptist Convention."
The congregation is typically about 250 people for Sunday worship, he explained, with a general membership of 400 or more.
A call seeking comment from Burning Mountain Bowl owner Scott Balcomb, an attorney in Glenwood Springs, was not returned on Friday.