parks

BG to save as many trees as possible near new City Park building

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Before the new City Park building goes up, some of the trees in the park will need to come down. But special effort is being made to save as many of the bigger trees that have been there for decades, and the smaller trees that were planted there as memorials by families. Later this summer, the aging Veterans Building, Girl Scout Building and Depot building will be demolished to make room for one new building near the entrance of City Park. As plans were discussed last year about the new building, residents were assured that efforts would be made to save as many trees as possible at the building site. Park and Recreation Department Director Kristin Otley noted at the last park board meeting that many of the memorial trees at the site can be saved. Of the six memorial trees, five will be moved to other locations in City Park. “That is fantastic,” she said. “We are going to be able to move almost all of them to places in City Park.” The trees will be transplanted later this winter or in early spring, when the ground is frozen and the trees are dormant. The memorial markers will be moved with the trees. “There are some locations where we actually need trees” in the park, Otley said. “The fact that we can move those to even a better spot in the park where we need them is pretty great.” The Parks and Recreation Department has reached out to the families who had the trees planted in memory of loved ones to make them aware of the plans. City Arborist Grant Jones…

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New City Park building to help celebrate ‘life moments’

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The aging Veterans Building in City Park has seen its share of “community life moments.” The building has hosted generations of birthday parties, baby showers, wedding receptions and family reunions. It has witnessed square dancing lessons, euchre game nights, and pint size proms. But its days are numbered, with its crumbling block walls, leaks, lack of air conditioning, and lack of ADA accessibility. There is no storage space, so tables and chairs are stacked in the open. There are holes that let varmints inside – including a skunk that visited during a recent rental. In order to continue offering a place for “community life moments,” the city is preparing for the sale of $3.75 million in bonds that will pay for tearing down three old buildings and constructing one new facility in City Park. On the demolition list in addition to the Veterans Building, are two much smaller structures – the Girl Scout Building and the Depot Building – all near the entrance to City Park. On Tuesday evening, the Bowling Green Parks and Recreation Board got another look at the initial plans for the new building, which will have adequate space for programming, storage, air conditioning, ADA accessibility, and an attractive design that reflects the historic nature of City Park. Park and Recreation Director Kristin Otley stressed that the park levy passed by Bowling Green voters last year included money to pay off the bonds for this building project. “We are not asking people for additional money for this project,” she said. The construction has a “fairly tight timeline” to minimize interruption with park programming, Otley explained. The architecture and engineering…


BG eyes $10M in bonds for roundabouts & park building

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…


Park district turned off by plan for electric lines along trail

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Wood County Park District Board members aren’t exactly charged up about a request from American Electric Power. The electric company has approached the park district about getting an easement for a new line along the Slippery Elm Trail near North Baltimore. The request covers the strip of land on the west side of the trail from Quarry Road to Broadway Street, where the trail starts in North Baltimore. Wood County Park District Director Neil Munger listed several concerns about giving an easement for the power lines. First, it would mean the loss of most if not all the vegetation and trees on the west side of the trail. Second, Munger has concerns about poles being installed right next to the trail. And third, the southernmost section of the Slippery Elm Trail would likely need to be closed to users during construction. Park board chairman Denny Parish said the district does not have to approve the request from American Electric Power. It is unknown if AEP can use eminent domain for the project. The board suspected that AEP is asking the park district for an easement because it would be easier than dealing with several different landowners along different routes. Munger said the high transmission lines will be on 80-foot poles, which are about twice the height of standard poles for electric lines. Board member John Calderonello pointed out that the lack of a vegetation wind barrier will make that portion of the trail much more difficult and unpleasant for bicyclists and walkers. And board member Christine Seiler noted that the buzzing from the overhead electric lines will take away the peaceful feel…


Park district hands out grants to 11 community parks

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Thirty years ago as the Wood County Park District worked to pass its first levy, a promise was made to share the wealth with community parks throughout the county. That promise has been kept, and continued again this week as the park board approved $100,000 in grants to 11 Wood County communities. Over the years, the grants have helped municipalities add to park playgrounds and repair shelter houses – expenses many smaller towns could not afford on their own. The grants have also been used by several communities to make their parks more accessible to people with disabilities. Following is a list of those communities approved for grants for 2018, the projects funded, and the amounts approved: Bloomdale – $4,157 for six picnic tables with two being ADA compliant. Bowling Green – $4,332 for a scaler tunnel net on a playground. Bradner – $2,479 for an 8-inch balance beam and merry-go-round. Custar – $6,900 for a sway bench and rain garden. Cygnet – $7,835 for ADA sidewalk, and $1,176 for safety surfacing. North Baltimore – $9,873 for safety surfacing, and $4,999 for shelter house roof replacement. Pemberville – $6,150 for shelter house conversion, and $2,485 for safety surfacing. Perrysburg – $10,000 for shade structure for ballfields, and $1,949 for porch swing bench. Walbridge – $14,372 for new basketball court. West Millgrove – $9,991 for swing set and safety surfacing, and $4,997 for trash containers and safety surfacing. Weston – $8,305 for two shade structures. Though the Wood County Park District serves all of the county, the grants go a step further. “This is a way of giving back to some of those…


BG Healing Garden to get some doctoring of its own

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Some doctoring of the Healing Garden is planned for next year in Simpson Garden Park. The Bowling Green Parks and Recreation Foundation recently donated $27,500 for concrete work at the Healing Garden to make it accessible to all. That work will be part of a complete redesign of the garden, Park Natural Resources Coordinator Chris Gajewicz told the city’s park and recreation board Tuesday evening. The Healing Garden is located on the far east end of the Simpson Garden Park, with access from Wood County Hospital. In the past, the garden has had more of a medieval medicine garden feel, Gajewicz said. But next spring, the garden will be replanted to have a more holistic philosophy. “There will be more of a mind, body and spirit approach to it,” he said. “It will be less of a curiosity and more interactive.” For example, the plantings will include some “interactive thyme,” that will generate a calming scent as people walk through or even recline in it. “We want the garden to be less of a walk-by,” Gajewicz said. Programming outside of gardening may include relaxation, Tai Chi, yoga and other forms of exercise that are low impact but would benefit from a garden surrounding. The area will promote peace and calm and will have a collection of healing plants and trees to provide shade in the otherwise open sunlight environment, according to Gajewicz. In other business at the board meeting Tuesday evening, a letter from a soccer coach was read by Parks and Recreation Director Kristin Otley. The letter told of the impact the park and recreation’s D-League soccer program had on one…


Have to deal with guts to get glory of jack-o-lanterns

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   As Breanna Serrato reached into the pumpkin and pulled out the guts, she got a huge grin on her face. “I love it, actually, getting messy. The squishiness of it,” the 17-year-old from Bowling Green said. Not everyone shared those feelings. At a nearby picnic table, Jessica Nekoranec, of Risingsun, grimaced as she scooped out the juicy innards. She was enjoying the carving, but the “sticking your hand in – not so much,” she said. Nearly 40 people picked out pumpkins Thursday evening for the annual jack-o-lantern making sponsored by the Wood County Park District. The pumpkins were carved at a shelter house on the Wood County Historical Center grounds, where they will be put on display for the annual Folklore and Funfest this weekend. Some came armed with their own carving equipment, accessories and definite ideas for their pumpkin art. Others just let the spirits take them. With spooky music playing in the background, the carvers got to work. “I thought at home what I’m going to do before I got down here,” said Pam Douglas, of Portage. Her plan was to turn the pumpkin into Mickey Mouse, with two Folger coffee can lids acting as the big mouse ears. “He may not end up looking like Mickey Mouse, but that’s my plan,” she said. Mary Grzybowski, of Bowling Green, won last year for carving a cat. She was hoping to repeat that winning design. “I had an idea, but it’s not turning out right,” she said. Grzybowski wore her gardening gloves for the task – more out of habit than due to the gooey guts. “I’m a gardener, nothing bothers…