Frank Berenyi, center, listens to the concerns of the residents of Wilton on Thursday, June 15, over the sale of Meadow Lanes bowling alley and turning a portion of the building into a medical marijuana dispensary. Brian Ponce/Franklin Journal

WILTON — The Wilton Planning Board held a public hearing on Thursday, June 15, regarding an application to change part of Meadow Lanes Bowling Alley, which is located on 907 U.S. Route 2 to a medical marijuana dispensary.

The alley has been for sale, with the owner still in negotiations with potential buyer Frank Berenyi.

Berenyi, who has a background in bars and nightclubs, is planning to convert 3,000 square feet of the bowling alley into a medical marijuana dispensary. If the purchase goes through, Berenyi plans to maintain half the bowling alley, which currently has 16 lanes, out of respect for the community.

“My first goal was to go in there, buy it, gut the thing, make it a grow, make it a store and go from there,” Berenyi said. “Then I went in there, and everybody was bowling, a bunch of older people. I felt bad, so what I did was I talked to the owners about how to keep this [portion of the bowling alley].”

Berenyi is currently the owner of MarijuanaVille, a dispensary located at 68 College Ave in Waterville. Previously, he was the founder of Shenanigans, a bar and nightclub that operated in Augusta.

His interest in the bowling alley stems from the fact that, due to the town ordinances and neighboring towns restricting the operations of marijuana growth, cultivation and dispensaries, the location is the most suitable for a medical marijuana dispensary.


Berenyi stood before a crowd of concerned patrons of the bowling alley as they questioned the buyer on the potential issues the dispensary may bring. One audience member asked Berenyi about the smell the dispensary may generate.

“This isn’t a place where people are going to consume anything,” Berenyi assured the audience. “They literally pick up their marijuana, whether it’s edibles or whatever, and they leave the property. There is no consumption here and there’s no grow in there. It’s just a retail space.”

Berenyi maintains that the site will not be used for growth and all cannabis will be sealed with carbon filters to absorb the smell. According to Berenyi, the dispensary will have a separate entrance from the bowling alley.

Several patrons of the bowling alley voiced their worry over what the future will be for the bowling alley portion of the building after the purchase. Berenyi stated that he will maintain the bowling alley for at least a year to make a fair compromise to the community.

Jeff Chaisson, co-owner of Ambition Brewing and a member of a bowling league for over 20 years, expressed his concern over potentially losing the bowling alley.

“I feel like the community, all of Franklin County, enjoys this,” Chaisson stated. “We have a lot of leagues, a lot of members, and a lot of senior members. This is their primary mode of exercise. This is the one thing they get out once a week for and it’s affordable.”

Michael Lilley, who came on behalf of his bowling league that has over 50 participants, expressed concern over what closing the bowling alley will mean for the larger leagues. In the Franklin County area, Meadow Lanes is one of two bowling alleys that is currently open, with the other being Moose Alley in Rangeley.

“There’s only two bowling alleys in Franklin County,” Lilley said. “If [Meadow Lanes] disappears, all of our seniors, our kids that have [bowling] through school, and all those things now have to travel an hour to get to the next closest place.”

No resolution regarding the marijuana dispensary was made by the planning board due to an unfiled application. The planning board will discuss the application on Thursday, July 6. The meeting will be open to the public and will have a limited opportunity to voice opinions.

Comments are no longer available on this story