LIMA — A new indoor athletic center and batting cage opened in a former Lima bowling alley.
Jamey and Patsy Skinner converted the old Northland bowling alley into an indoor athletic facility, complete with batting cages, pitching lanes, an indoor field and fitness room.
The couple opened Empowered Sports Lima in February, working primarily with schools and individuals seeking additional practice. But the facility has also been rented out for birthday parties and by those who wish to learn a new sport, with instructors available for baseball and softball.
The indoor field has even been rented for knockerball, in which participants are outfitted in large inflatable spheres.
The Skinners didn’t originally set out to open their own athletic center. The couple had been searching for a place for their daughter to practice her pitching skills, but most everything was booked. After talking with other families, Jamey Skinner said it became apparent that there was a need for more batting ranges in Lima.
He started looking for places to rent, like a small suite in a strip mall, where he could set up a single batting cage and pitching lane for his daughter and a few friends. He even considered building his own batting range.
But one day Skinner, who also owns Armor Fire Protection, says he drove past the old Northland bowling alley and decided to take a look. He eventually purchased the 23,000 square-foot facility and retrofitted the property into what is now Empowered Sports. The whole process took about three years, he said.
“There’s nothing better than when that field is full of kids, and I hear that machine up here going,” Skinner said. “… To hear all the chants and screams and the laughter and all that kind of stuff, it’s very fulfilling.”
While the facility is currently open by appointment, Skinner hopes to keep the place filled regularly with indoor leagues, birthday parties, special events, yoga classes and more.
“We’re here for everybody,” he said. “If you don’t know what you’re doing, we have instructors.”
Reach Mackenzi Klemann at 567-242-0456.