parks

What’s happening in your community (updated May 20)

NEWLY POSTED: Horizon presents ‘Phantom Tollbooth’ preview, May 25 The cast and crew of Horizon Youth Theatre’s “The Phantom Tollbooth” will present a special preview of their production in the Children’s Place on Saturday, May 25 at 10:30 a.m. Adapted from the beloved children’s novel by Norton Juster, “The Phantom Tollbooth” tells the story of Milo, a bored young boy who journeys to the Land of Wisdom, where he must help warring brothers reconcile by rescuing the banished Princesses Rhyme and Reason, and restoring order to the world. HYT’s production of “The Phantom Tollbooth” will be performed at Otsego High School on June 6, 7, and 8 at 7 p.m. each night.  For more information about this program, contact the Children’s Place at 419-352-8253.   NEWLY POSTED: Opera on Wheels brings ‘Romeo & Juliet’ to library, May 22 A performance of “Romeo and Juliet,” will be presented by The Toledo Opera on Wheels in the Atrium of the Wood County District Public Library on Wednesday, May 22, at 10:30 a.m. This touring show presents the story of “Two households…in fair Verona,” rival families who want nothing to do with one another. And yet, when Romeo sneaks into a party at Juliet’s house, the two young people meet, fall in love, and change their families’ history forever. Based on the opera by Charles Gounod, the play by William Shakespeare, and every tale of forbidden love the world over, this adaptation of the classic Romeo and Juliet story deals with the timeless themes of love, justice, compassion and more. This live performance is free to the public and will last approximately 45 minutes.  The performance is made possible by generous gifts from The Shakespeare Round Table and The Marjorie Conrad Estate. For more information, contact the Children’s Place at 419-352-8253. NEWLY POSTED: Chamber, BGSU team up for Lunch & Learn on 2020 census, June 5 Lunch and Learn on Census 2020 will be held June 5, 2019 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Bowen Thompson Student Union, Room 308, 1001 E. Wooster St.,  Bowling Green. Census 2020 will be presented by Wendy D. Manning, Director of the Center for Family and Demographic Research, at BGSU.   She will be speaking on why the U.S. Census is…

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Ice floe debris still keeping walleye anglers out of park

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News Most of the massive ice chunks have since melted, but the destruction from the ice floes in Buttonwood Park remains. The Wood County Park District Board made it official Tuesday, by voting unanimously on the resolution to close the park along the Maumee River in Perrysburg Township for an indefinite period. Last month, the board saw photos of the destruction from the ice floe that towered over six feet high in some areas of the park. Trees between the river and the park parking lot bear scarring at least six feet high. The parking lot was demolished, and the soccer fields once covered with ice are now completely covered with debris left behind from the ice floes. This is not an ideal time to have the park closed, since the Maumee River is entering peak walleye season, Wood County Park District Director Neil Munger said. But there is just no way the park district can rebuild the parking lot and clean up all the debris quickly, Munger said. And the park district will likely rethink its parking lot and soccer field placements, since this is the second time in four years that the flooding has taken out the parking and sports facilities. Park staff walk past massive ice wall last month at Buttonwood Park. Conversations are planned with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to determine how the park district can use the floodplains there. Though Buttonwood Park is closed due to the damage, anglers can still access the Maumee River from Hull Prairie Road, a township road which acts as an entrance to the park. The road goes all the way to the river, and people can park along the roadway. The park district is allowing people fishing to walk along the bank of the river – but they must stay out of the woods, parking lot and soccer fields. Jeff Baney, assistant park director, said he is hoping to get an EPA permit to burn the wood debris on site. Park board member Bill Cameron asked about the possibility of volunteers helping to pick up the wood debris, and take what they want, so the wood wouldn’t be wasted. Baney said much of the wood is…


Fire – not Roundup – used to maintain prairie at Wintergarden Park

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News As the flames grew and the heat from the fire hit her face, Cinda Stutzman smiled with satisfaction. She knows the controlled burn of about 10 acres this morning at Wintergarden/St. John’s Nature Preserve is a part of the life cycle for the prairie area. “I very much look forward to this. It’s like Christmas for me,” said Stutzman, natural resources specialist with Bowling Green Parks and Recreation Department. “I know what it’s going to do for the habitat.” In the section first burned this morning, some native prickly pear cactus plants were exposed after being hidden before by long grasses. “They’ll perk right back up,” and park visitors will be able to view their big flowers this year, Stutzman said. “It’s a rejuvenating force,” she said. “We’re still trying to beat up on the sassafras that is trying to encroach, and the blackberries are kind of aggressive.” Controlled burns are performed every year in different parts of the park, explained Chris Gajewicz, natural resources coordinator with the city. The burns can only be conducted in certain weather. “Today is a perfect day,” Gajewicz said. There were clear skies, no gusty winds, and low humidity so the smoke would rise. The goal is to burn the woody saplings and invasive species in the prairie. The native species there will return after the burn – and some actually benefit with the fire aiding their germination, Gajewicz said. The burn was conducted by members of the Hancock County Pheasants Forever organization. Ronald Gossard said he has been doing controlled burns for about 20 years. “It’s always stressful,” Gossard said, keeping a watchful eye on the flames as they moved across the prairie. Fire has been used for centuries to maintain the land. “The Indians did that for feeding the buffalo,” Gossard said. “We’re going back to the native way – not using Roundup.” While the controlled burn leaves the earth barren and black, it doesn’t take long for life to return, Gajewicz said. “It will look black and then in a couple days it will rain,” he said – at least that’s the weather forecast his knee was predicting. Then the native plant material in the soil will be rejuvenated.


Wall of ice closes Buttonwood Park through walleye season

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News After viewing photographs of a massive ice wall towering over park staff, the Wood County Park District Board voted unanimously Tuesday to keep Buttonwood Park closed until further notice. The park, located along the Maumee River in Perrysburg Township, is a popular fishing spot during the annual walleye run every spring. But it looks like anglers will have to find other places to cast their lines this year. “There’s a lot of ice there and it’s going to take a long time to melt,” Wood County Park District Director Neil Munger told the board as he showed them photos of the ice bank covering much of the park. The ice came on shore last month when high winds and frigid conditions pushed massive ice floes into the park along the Maumee River. Township road crews have cleared a lane into the park – just wide enough for a pickup truck to squeeze through, Munger said. Many of the trees in the park have had their bark rubbed off by the ice chunks. “A lot of trees are scarred,” Munger said. “There’s no doubt we’re going to be losing some trees this year.” Some whole trees were swept away by the ice and are now part of the ice wall left behind. “It’s just kind of an eerie feeling out there,” he said. Park staff walks along shore, with ice bank towering over them. Munger estimated it would be May or June before the ice bank melts. The rain that has fallen recently has just frozen into the ice wall. The ice masses also took out the parking area at Buttonwood Park. “We pretty much lost the parking lot. The gravel was washed out,” he said. And the ice chunks bent the steel sign for the park. “The ice just really ripped it apart,” he said. “There’s a lot of work to be done.” And it can’t be finished in time for walleye season this spring, Munger said. “We’ve closed the park for the time being,” he said. After seeing photos of the damage and the lingering ice masses, the board made it official that no one should use the park until the board decides otherwise. “Anyone who goes…


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

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…


Pool day passes to stay the same for city kids, increase for others

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News City kids won’t have to pay more to spend a day at City Pool this year. The Bowling Green Parks and Recreation Board voted unanimously Tuesday evening to increase most of the pool fees – but not for city kids using day passes. The reason, pushed for by board chairman Jeff Crawford, rested on concerns about pricing a day at the pool out of reach for some children in the city. But rates for children from outside the city are proposed to go up 6 percent. “I was very satisfied,” Crawford said about the decision to leave the day pass rate for city kids at the current level of $5.50. “That was my big concern – that we didn’t put the price out of reach for kids in Bowling Green.” The theory is that city residents passed a levy for the pool – so the day pass increase should be placed on non-residents. “That pool is paid for by our taxpayers,” Crawford said. “Kristin came back with a proposal that we all supported.” Kristin Otley, director of the city parks and recreation department, had originally proposed a 3 percent increase to all pool fees. She was trying to make up for a deficit in the overall parks budget, primarily due to the first payment being made on bonds for the new city park building to be constructed this year. However, Crawford’s concern about children from lower income families led him to ask that the rate hike not include the fees for day passes for city children. So when the issue was revisited on Tuesday evening, Otley made the suggestion that the rate for non-residents be increased 6 percent and the day rate for city kids remain untouched. The proposed new rates include a 3 percent increase for all seasonal passes. However, the passes will be offered at last year’s rates if they are purchased prior to May 13 of this year. The current and proposed annual fees for pool passes are: $150 increased to $155 for resident families; $185 increased to $191 for non-residents.$105 increased to $108 for resident adults; $125 increased to $129 for non-residents.$95 increased to $98 for senior residents; $115 increased to $118 for non-residents.$85…


County parks fishing to add pond at Reuthinger Preserve

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News The Wood County Park District often hears from local residents fishing for a place to cast out their lines and reel in a big one. So when approached by a contractor needing dirt for a construction project, the park district jumped on the chance to provide their dirt and get a pond in exchange. Wood County Park District Director Neil Munger reported to the park board last week that E.S. Wagner Co. is bidding on a large ODOT project relocating the Disalle Bridge. The company needs a lot of fill dirt for the project, and Reuthinger Preserve has some to spare, Munger told the board. If E.S. Wagner gets the project, Munger suggested it would work to the park district’s benefit to let the company excavate a 6.5-acre area of Reuthinger Preserve, off Oregon Road, to create a pond for the park. The pond could potentially provide a place for fishing, kayaking, canoeing, and a source of water for the greenhouse in Reuthinger Preserve. “One of the biggest things we hear from the public is they want more places to fish,” Munger told the board. “I think this is a real positive thing.” The pond would be in the northern section of the park. The district is also working on trails and boardwalks through the woods and wetlands in an eastern area of the park. If E.S. Wagner gets the bid, it will dig about 25 feet deep and then compact the pond area, Munger said. Restrooms may be added to the site, and Munger is hoping a windmill might be used for aeration of the pond. “This is an exciting possibility there for us,” he said. Munger also informed the board that he plans to talk with the Wood County engineer about the possibility of installing a four-way stop on Oregon Road at the entrance to Reuthinger Preserve. In other business at last week’s meeting, the park board: Agreed to raise per mile reimbursement for mileage from 54.5 cents to 58 cents, according to the IRS standard.Voted to purchase a Dodge Ram 1500 from Al Smith, in Bowling Green, for $25,870 for the park district’s operations department.Agreed to renew annual membership with the Toledo Metropolitan Area Council…