By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN
BG Independent News
Bowling Green City Council set the stage Monday for issuing nearly $10 million in bonds – to help build roundabouts on the east side of the city and to build a new park building on the west side of the city.
Council declared emergencies on both bond issues, to move them along a little faster. Both will have final readings and a vote at the next meeting on Dec. 28 at 5 p.m. Both projects have been in the pipeline for years.
The $6.2 million in bonds is intended to improve the Interstate 75 and East Wooster Street area by constructing roundabouts.
The project will add two roundabouts designed for semi-trucks at both I-75 interchanges on East Wooster Street. The bridge driving surface will be replaced, with a bike-pedestrian trail being added from Alumni Drive to Dunbridge Road along north side of Wooster Street. The plan calls for a landscaped gateway to be created to Bowling Green and Bowling Green State University.
The goal is made the entrance to the city more attractive, create a smoother traffic flow and reduce accidents at the interchanges.
Though utility work will begin in 2018, the bulk of the actual interchange and roadway work will take place in 2019.
The bonds will help pay for the road widening, paving, resurfacing, grading, draining, constructing curbs, sidewalks and related drainage improvements, installing traffic signals and lighting, installing waterlines and sanitary sewers, and constructing a sanitary sewer pump station.
The roundabout project is being worked on with the Ohio Department of Transportation. The current estimated cost for the entire project is more than $8.8 million. The city and utility portion of the project is approximately $6 million. An ODOT safety grant of $750,000 in addition to the ODOT share of the project at $1.7 million adds up to $2.47 million toward the cost. The Wood County Commissioners also kicked in $300,000 for the project.
On the other side of town, the sale of $3.75 million in bonds will pay for tearing down three old buildings and constructing a new one in City Park.
The buildings being demolished are the Veterans Building, Girl Scout Building and Depot Building, all near the entrance of City Park. It was determined that the old buildings were not work sinking renovation dollars into.
The buildings will be replaced with one larger building with adequate space for programming, storage, ADA accessibility, and an attractive design that reflects the historic nature of City Park.
The bonds will pay for the demolition of the old buildings, plus clearing and improving the site, constructing, furnishing and equipping a new building, including landscaping, paving an entry drive and parking lot, and building a patio.
The park building project is expected to start late summer of 2018. Council also gave two readings to an ordinance authorizing the municipal administrator to enter into contracts for architectural and design services for the new building.
Council member Bob McOmber explained that the 2018 budget would get its first and second readings on Monday evening, so council can approve it during the last meeting of the year set for Dec. 28 at 5 p.m.
The highlight of next year’s proposed budget, McOmber said, was that it was much different than the 2017 budget which had a general fund deficit of $625,000.
“This was a balanced budget,” he said of the 2018 budget. He thanked the city administration for putting it together. “It’s a good game plan” to start the year with, McOmber said.
In other business on Monday:
- Council gave a second reading to an ordinance transferring approximately 3.15 acres of land in Bellard Business Center to the Bowling Green Community Development Foundation. Snyder Financial Services has offered to purchase the parcel to construct a building with three office spaces.
- Council passed a resolution supporting a coalition of municipalities retaining special counsel to fight plans at the state level to take over the collection of municipal income taxes. Council president Mike Aspacher expressed his appreciation to council for passing the resolution.
- Mayor Dick Edwards mentioned a letter to the city from Habitat for Humanity Wood County Director Mark Ohashi, thanking City Council for its “historical vote” rezoning land for three Habitat homes in the city.
- Municipal Administrator Lori Tretter reminded people about the free downtown parking during December.
- Park and Recreation Director Kristin Otley said the city parks recently received three grants: $4,000 from the Wood County Park District for equipment for the obstacle course; $3,000 from the community development foundation for the mosaic project at the community center; and $1,500 from the foundation to work with Wood County Safe Communities on pedestrian-bicycle education.
- Council went into executive session to discuss a legal matter. No action was taken.