By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN
BG Independent News
Citizens of Bowling Green are invited to a giant block party on Saturday, April 22. Actually, it’s a party covering multiple blocks and the entire city is welcome to attend from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The idea for “Court Street Connects” was born at a Community Action Plan meeting last year. The concept for a block party was top on the list for local residents wanting to bring about positive changes in city – especially the East Side.
Court Street was identified as a great location since it is a natural corridor between Bowling Green State University and downtown. But the party is reaching far beyond that one street, said Heather Sayler, the city’s planning director who has been working on the Community Action Plan.
“To improve neighborhoods, you’ve got to bring a lot of people together,” Sayler said. “It’s really exciting.”
Those coming together to make the block party a big bash include the city, BGSU, Wood County, fire division, police division, parks and recreation department, bicycle safety commission, BG City Schools, Wood County Historical Society, local businesses, library, bookmobile, the Common Good, county solid waste agency, county park district, Wood County Hospital, East Side Neighborhood Group, Habitat for Humanity and more.
“It’s all free,” Sayler said, including many children’s activities.
Various types of entertainment will be provided from the Wood County Courthouse steps, including acoustic music, theater and poetry reading. There will also be “pop-up art” along the street.
Q’dobe will have a food truck on site.
The city will also be test driving bike lanes, which will be painted on the south side of Court Street, from Prospect Street to Thurstin Avenue.
“People want more transportation options,” such as bike lanes, Sayler said. “This is a cheap, low-cost way.” City officials hope to measure the popularity of the bike lanes. “We’re actually going to collect some data.”
In addition to the bike lane, the Court Street Connects event is also intended to highlight the assets of the neighborhood – historic homes, the grand courthouse, Trinity United Methodist Church, businesses and the corridor between downtown and BGSU.
Court Street Connects is “designed to celebrate our unique town-gown relationship while bringing attention to the neighborhood between BGSU and Downtown. Residents and stakeholders have envisioned Court Street Connects as a key part of the Bowling Green Community Action Plan,” the city has stated about the event. “The event will engage residents in thinking about public and private improvements that can occur on and around the important Court Street corridor while utilizing an approach to neighborhood building that focuses on short-term, low-cost, and scalable interventions and policies to catalyze long-term change.”
Court Street Connects will include activities for all ages including these and more:
- A rideable on-street demonstration bike lane to try out with your personal bicycle or borrow a BGSU Orange Bike
- Music, entertainment, free yoga, food trucks, and free raffles
- Bicycle safety education & a limited number of free bicycle helmets
- Tours of the historic Wood County Courthouse and other historical buildings
- Kids activities, including face painting and a bike parade
- Representatives of local organizations promoting sustainability and community assets
- The Wood County District Public Library Bookmobile
- Fire Station open house and safety demonstrations
- Police bike patrol officers and bike registration
- A pop-up art studio
- Student-constructed recycle pallet furniture for sale
More information will be posted to the CAP webpage as well as the Court Street Connects Facebook page: Community Action Plan, City of Bowling Green: www.bgohio.org/community-action-plan/Court Street Connects Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/courtstreetconnects/
Promotional Video: https://youtu.be/4B_F_nlVNDk
In conjunction with the Court Streets Connects Festival along Court Street, temporary parking restrictions will be implemented. In order to accommodate the temporary bike lane, “no parking” signs will be posted from April 17 – 30 along the southern portion of the 300 and 400 block of Court Street. The metered parking along the southern portion of the 200 block of Court Street will also be bagged during this timeframe.
On April 22, during the festival, the 200 block of Court Street (from Prospect to Summit) will be closed to traffic. The closure will begin by 8 a.m. and the street will re-open by 5 p.m.
Direct all questions about the Community Action Plan or the Court Street Connects event to the Planning Department at 419-354-6218.