NORWICH – When the Common Council began discussing the 2007 budget, aldermen knew they would have to do a lot of cutting to lower a potential 38 percent tax rate increase. The Youth Bureau budget was trimmed, as it has been almost every year since 2002, and one of the programs that could no longer be afforded was the bowling program at Plaza Lanes.
City Youth Bureau Director Bob Mason had been discussing the potential budget issue with Plaza Lanes Manager Mark Ewen before his budget was cut. Ewen had agreed to give him a reduced rate, making it more feasible for the bowling program to continue; however, the budget was cut by an additional $7,200, and the bowling costs were too high. Ewen didn’t want to see the program come to an end because of the money issue, so he formed a partnership with the Youth Bureau, and is donating the games, free of charge. Mason will be donating his time to the program, by instructing the class. “Unless you have volunteered, you don’t understand the hours that go into it,” Ewen said of Mason’s efforts.