By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN
BG Independent News
When Kristin Otley drove past City Park on Monday, she almost pulled in to chew out some people doing work in the park.
Then it hit her, “Wait, that’s a survey truck,” she said.
“Poggemeyer started surveying City Park yesterday,” Otley, Bowling Green’s Park and Recreation Director, said Tuesday during a park board meeting.
Otley also announced that the city will be contracting with Schorr Architects for the new City Park building. Schorr specializes in historical-type structures and designed the new building last year.
That was the good news of the evening. The bad news is that the timeline has shifted for the project.
“There’s no way we’ll have everything designed” and ready to go by August, she said.
The original plans were to tear down the three buildings near the entrance of City Park – the Veterans Building, Girl Scout Building, and Depot – then start construction so the new building replacing the aging structures would be ready for use by summer of 2019.
However, Otley said that much to her disappointment, that timeline is just too tight and unrealistic.
The new timeline calls for the old buildings to be torn down next winter. Construction will be delayed until March of 2019, since the costs of winter construction are much higher and the city does not want to rush the project, Otley told the board.
That means the parks and recreation department won’t have City Park buildings to schedule events in next summer. But Otley reassured the board that there are ample facilities in the city’s 11 parks to hold programming.
The new goal is to have the City Park building completed by summer of 2020.
That also means that the existing buildings in City Park are now available for rentals and programming for a longer period. Originally, rentals of the buildings were cut off in mid-August since demolition was scheduled to occur then.
However, the buildings are now available for rentals through Jan. 13, 2019. That extra time will give city residents time for a “farewell tour” of the buildings, Otley said.
Though disappointed in the delay, Otley said she is pleased the city is working with Schorr Architects, and that the firm has contracted with the local Poggemeyer Design Group.
“I’m excited that it’s moving forward,” she said. “We want to make sure we do everything right.”
Bowling Green Mayor Dick Edwards said the decision to slow down the process was “very prudent.”
The contract price with Schorr Architects is $317,500 – a bit lower than the expected cost of $320,000.
Earlier this year, city approved the sale of $3.75 million in bonds to pay for tearing down the three old buildings and constructing the one new facility in City Park. The new building will have adequate space for programming, storage, air conditioning, ADA accessibility, ample parking and an attractive design that reflects the historic nature of City Park.
In other business at Tuesday’s park and rec meeting, the board bid farewell to long-time member Cheryl Windisch, who has served as liaison between the board and the parks and recreation foundation.
“Cheryl is a great worker and a great cheerleader,” Otley said. “I sincerely appreciate you.”
Windisch also shared her appreciation for Otley.
“Kristin keeps us so well informed,” she said. “You’re always thinking about what’s down the road.”
The mayor presented Windisch with a proclamation for her civic record.
“If there was ever a townie, you are a townie,” he said with a smile.
“It’s been fun and I enjoyed it,” Windisch said.
Jodi Anderson will be replacing Windisch on the board and as liaison with the foundation.