BG parks & rec achieves 2018 goals; reaches for more in 2019

Tall grasses planted at Simpson Garden Park

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN

BG Independent News

Some statistics are meaningful – some are just interesting.

For example, who knew that 1,564 hot dogs were sold at City Park last year? And is there some connection between the 1,403 orders of nachos with cheese sold at City Pool and the 59 swim diapers sold?

But seriously, here are some stats from Bowling Green Parks and Recreation for 2018:

  • 19,670 total participants in programs.
  • 82,394 daily swipes into the community center.
  • 2,918 reserved facility uses, with an estimated headcount of 81,254.
  • 6,931 fitness program participants.
  • 47,935 visits to City Pool.

Kristin Otley, director of the Bowling Green Parks and Recreation Department, recently reported the 2018 accomplishments and 2019 goals for the department.

The parks and rec department did some long-range planning, plus completed maintenance and repairs. Work continued to make the parks more accessible to people with physical disabilities, the Nature Center at Wintergarden Park was remodeled, roof and HVAC repairs were made at Simpson Building, and Ridge Park saw drainage repairs and the installation of a backstop.

At Conneaut-Haskins Park, new trees were added after the large ailing tree at the base of the sledding hill was removed. And new benches were added along the Wintergarden Park trail.

The parks and rec department also made several land management improvements, such as:

  • Restoration of native plant species at Wintergarden St. John Nature Preserve, Carter Park and the community center.
  • Continued paving of trails at Simpson Garden Park.
  • Redevelopment of the Healing Garden at Simpson Garden Park.
  • Completion of the two-acre prairie expansion at the community center.
  • Expansion of the hosta garden to more than 1,000 different species.

The parks and rec department also last year expanded youth fitness offerings, as well as lowered the age of participation in fitness classes.

Programs were offered on a variety of topics or skills, such as bubble soccer, outdoor survival skills, wilderness first aid, archery, birding, nature study, theater camps, a walking program, and aqua bikes spinning classes at the pool.

Otley also presented information on goals planned for the parks and rec department in 2019. Big on the list is the demolition of three buildings near the entrance of City Park – then the construction of a new replacement building. The department plans to work with the community to gather old photos and historical information to display in the new building, plus work on naming rights for the new facility.

In Carter Park, the Bellard and Perkins shelters will be replaced with one new larger shelter.

Some of the other goals include plans to work cooperatively with other groups in the community, such as the senior center and Bowling Green City Schools.

Plans at specific parks include:

  • Bringing back the soup/chili walk event at Wintergarden Park.
  • Level and reseed turf in open play area at Ridge Park, plus complete drainage improvements.
  • Paint the Kiwanis Shelter in City Park.
  • Replace picnic tables at Miller Shelter in City Park.
  • Continue to solve ADA issues in the parks to make them more accessible.
  • Continue paving trails at Simpson Garden Park.
  • Work to expand the outdoor obstacle course trail behind the community center.
  • Continue the Zombie Mud Run and Kid’s Super Hero Run.
  • Level and seed remaining acreage behind the community center so it can be used for open play.
  • Replace two diving boards at City Pool.

In the area of administration, the park and rec department will keep working with city bicycle safety commission, create a land acquisition policy, implement the new no smoking ordinance in parks, and work to develop a trail out to the community center.

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