Thanks for the memories; why you should vote ‘yes’ on county parks levy

Do you have fond memories of picnics in the park? Did your scout troop learn about leaves and animals and insects while at the park? Do you visit the park to bird watch or celebrate a birthday or graduation with family and friends? Do you enjoy walking trails? Are you the more active type and enjoy repelling down a limestone wall? Perhaps a naturalist visited your school or club and shared information you had never considered about various critters. Do you enjoy the challenge of geocache? Is photography your thing and you find perfect subjects at the park? This list could go on and on. And that is why we support the May 8th renewal levy for the Wood County Park District. We hope you will as well by voting “Yes” for your Wood County Parks on May 8th! Joe and Lynne Long Grand Rapids

Bob Callecod: Parks levy protects precious natural resources, provides quality parks & recreation opportunities, and assists local entities

To the Editor: In 1986 I was appointed as a Wood County Park District Commissioner. At that time, the WCPD consisted of Otsego and Wm. Henry Harrison Parks and a very loose agreement with the County to “maintain” the Old Infirmary building and grounds.  Then Director/Secretary Lyle Fletcher and two part-time laborers were expected to maintain those facilities on a budget of about $60,000 provided by the County Commissioners. The entirety of the Park District’s equipment consisted of a beat-up pickup truck and a temperamental riding mower. On my first visit with Lyle to Otsego Park and the building which for many years hosted hundreds of family events, I gagged with the stench emanating from the inoperable restrooms; and nearly fell over when the railing on the stairs leading to the river collapsed when I leaned on it for support.  In the interest of public safety we closed the park shortly thereafter. Wood County ranked 87 out of 88 counties in the amount of land dedicated for parks and recreation. My fellow commissioners, Martha Kudner and George Thompson, and I realized that the only way to restore, protect and build on the natural and historic resources available to Wood County residents was to secure a dedicated source of funding.  That led to the passage in 1988 of a .5 mill, 10-year levy which established the WCPD as a viable entity. Since that time, two more 10-year levies have been approved by the voters and the District now provides and protects 22 parks and facilities encompassing over 1200 acres of precious natural resources. One of the continuing components of that original 1988 levy was the Local Park Improvement Grant Program. The Board felt that a program of assistance to local communities for improvement of their own park areas and facilities would maximize the benefit of the Park District levy for each county resident.  Since its inception over $2,100,000 has been awarded to 34 cities, villages and townships in Wood County. On May 8, the Park District is asking voters to allow it to continue protecting our precious natural resources, provide quality parks and recreation opportunities, and to continue to assist local entities in improving their local recreation areas by approving a 10-year renewal of the existing 1 mill levy.  This is a renewal levy – Your taxes will not go up!    Please show your support for our superb Wood County Park District by voting on May 8!   Bob Callecod Bowling Green

BG seeks old photos to give final salute to Veterans Building

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The Bowling Green Parks and Recreation Board took a farewell tour of the Veterans Building in City Park Tuesday evening. Members pointed out items that won’t be missed when the building is torn down later this year – the carpeted walls, lack of ADA restrooms, buckling floors, water damage, inadequate electric, lack of air conditioning and crumbling block walls. 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. The demolition of the Veterans Building, Girl Scout Building and the Depot Building are all scheduled for mid-August. Then construction will begin on a new City Park 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. On Tuesday evening, Parks and Recreation Director Kristin Otley reported to the board that requests for qualifications for the new building are due this week. “That will be very exciting,” she said. Though the aging Veterans Building has outlived its usefulness, Otley said the city still wants to pay homage to the role it played in the community – as a place where families celebrated birthdays, organizations held chili-cook-offs, and residents tried to jazzercise off some pounds. So Otley is asking that as local residents do their spring cleaning, if they come upon photographs of those special moments at the Veterans Building, that they share those photos with the Parks and Recreation Department. “So many life moments happened in this building,” Otley said. And she is hoping some of the old photos can be displayed in the new building. Otley asked that a couple park board members volunteer to look over the architectural plans for the new building as the project nears. “You are representatives of the community and have different takes on things,” she said. Once the buildings are torn down in mid-August, the plan is for the new building to get framed in before winter. “They’ll be able to work through the nasty weather,” Otley said. If all goes according to plans, the building will be completed by the spring of 2019. “I think it’s doable,” Otley said. In other business, the park board: Re-elected Jeff Crawford as president. Learned the annual membership breakfast will be May 19, at 9 a.m., in the Rotary Nature Center in Wintergarden Park. Approved Jodi Anderson as a new member of the park foundation board of trustees. Heard that the newly renovated nature center is open again for rentals. Learned from naturalist Chris Gajewicz that the second annual seed exchange was well attended. “Garden people get pretty excited this time of the year,” he said. Heard from Gajewicz that recent programs on Bigfoot and birding were hits. Got a report from Ivan Kovacevic, recreation coordinator, about new programming including an “escape” event, and about the success of a recent Day Off School program. The annual Adult Egg Scramble is set for April 6, and the Super Hero obstacle course event is partnering with Wood County foster care program on April 21. Learned the parks and recreation summer brochure should be available electronically by the end of the week.

Wetlands plan at park doesn’t sit well with farmer

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   As a young boy, Tom Carpenter learned quickly that his neighbor, Everett Carter, liked things done a certain way. At age 12, Carpenter started mowing lawn for the aging farmer. “Can you make straight lines,” Carpenter recalled Carter asking him. “He was very, very particular. His home was immaculate,” Carpenter said. Decades later, now Carpenter is the farmer of the land once planted and harvested by Carter. And as such, he approached the Wood County Park District Board on Tuesday about its plans to turn part of the old farm into a wetlands demonstration project. The property has been in the park district’s hands for years, being donated by Everett’s daughter, Sally Loomis. The park district has maintained the farm, house and outbuildings as a historic site for visitors. Carpenter complimented the park district for its efforts. “If Sally Loomis were to pull in the property, she would be very appreciative” of the care given the buildings, and the animals being raised on the site north of Bowling Green, Carpenter said. But he’s not so sure that Loomis would appreciate 20 acres of her former farmland being turned back into wetlands. Carpenter surmised that Loomis would prefer that the acreage continue to be used as productive farmland. Wood County Park District Director Neil Munger explained the proposal to revert a portion of the farm back into wetlands would serve two purposes. One is historic. “It would restore it to what it would have been back in the day,” Munger said. The other reason is scientific. The wetlands proposal by the Black Swamp Conservancy would be a demonstration project to study how wetlands can be used to filter out nutrients from farm fields – before those nutrients reach streams and ultimately Lake Erie. Carpenter said he is aware of runoff from farmland causing water quality problems in the region. “I understand about 70 percent of what we put on farms can end up in Lake Erie,” he said. The preliminary proposal calls for the wetlands to be located with a wooded buffer on 20 acres on the far west end of the farm. The acreage involved sits along a ditch that flows into Toussaint Creek. The wetlands would be designed to create wildlife habitat. Munger said his conversations with Loomis led him to believe she would approve of the wetlands project, especially in light of the region’s water quality problems. “She did talk about restoration of some areas,” Munger said. Loomis was a believer in education about farming and the natural history of the county – and donated the farm to the park district for that reason, he said. Carpenter suggested that perhaps the park board could turn the wooded area on the farm into wetlands, rather than the productive farmland. “I struggle with her feeling it should be turned into wetland, when she put a lot of money into it being drained,” he said. “I would like you to give this some serious thought.” Park board president Denny Parish assured Carpenter that no decisions would be made on the property without public meetings. “We will not take a vote on this without the public knowing,” Parish said. In other business at the park board meeting: Munger reported on plans to get information…

County Park District seeking comments on programs at open forums in March & April

From WOOD COUNTY PARK DISTRICT The Wood County Park District welcomes the communities of Wood County to several Community & Parks Open Forums. The Park District is offering many new opportunities for nature and cultural education, and outdoor recreation. Many new features and amenities have been added and will continue to be added in the future to the twenty Nature Preserves and Parks managed by the Wood County Park District. The public is encouraged to visit these open forums to learn about what is new and upcoming, as well as, share opinions with the Park District. Public opinions will help shape the future of the parks. Wednesday, March 14; 5-7  p.m. N Baltimore Public Library 230 N. Main Street, North Baltimore   Thursday, March 15; 7-9 p.m. W.W. Knight Nature Preserve: Hankison Great Room 29530 White Road, Perrysburg Saturday, March 24; 1-3 p.m. Wood County District Public Library Meeting room 251 N. Main Street, Bowling Green Thursday, March 29; 6-8 p.m. Way Public Library 101 E. Indiana Avenue, Perrysburg Saturday, April 14; 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Pemberville Public Library 375 E. Front Street, Pemberville Wednesday, April 18; 4-6 p.m. Weston Public Library – Grand Rapids Branch 17620 Bridge St, Grand Rapids, 43522 Thursday, April 19; 5-7 p.m. Walbridge Library 108 N Main St, Walbridge, OH 43465 Tuesday, April 24; 7-9 v Bradner Interpretive Center 11491 Fostoria Road, Bradner Light refreshments, good information and great company will be provided. For more information, please visit

County parks are busy places during March

From WOOD COUNTY PARK DISTRICT Native Bees and Bee Houses Wednesday, March 7; 6:30 – 8:30 pm J.C. Reuthinger Preserve 30370 Oregon Road, Perrysburg Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalists Suzanne Nelson and Dean Babcock will present on native bees and how to encourage them to visit your backyard. You will complete your own mason bee house with guidance from the program leaders. Register at, or call (419) 353-1897 Native American Moccasin Making Workshop Series Tuesdays, March 6, 13, 20, and 27; 6:00 – 9:00 pm Carter Historic Farm 18331 Carter Road, Bowling Green Learn the skill of making authentic Native American moccasins over the course of four sessions. The Plains two-piece style will be featured. Attendance at all sessions is required. Cost: $20; FWCP $15. Register at, or call (419) 353-1897 EcoLit Book Group Meeting Thursday, March 8, 7:00 – 9:00 pm W.W. Knight Nature Preserve: Hankison Great Room 29530 White Road, Perrysburg For this meeting, please read The Boilerplate Rhino: Nature in the Eye of the Beholder, essays by David Quammen. Group meets once a month. Register for any or all. Discussion leader: Cheryl Lachowski, Senior Lecturer, BGSU English Dept. and Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalist (OCVN). Register at, or call (419) 353-1897   CPR Certification at the Park Saturday, March 10; 8:00 am – noon Park District Headquarters 18729 Mercer Road, Bowling Green Get certified in adult, child, and infant CPR and AED use and learn choking relief. This American Heart Association course is taught by certified Park District staff. Participants must be 14 years of age. Registration deadline is March 3. Card certification cost: $20. Register at, or call (419) 353-1897 Community & Parks Open Forum Wednesday, March 14th  5:00 – 7:00 pm N Baltimore Public Library 230 N. Main Street, North Baltimore Learn about the new and exciting opportunities with the Wood County Parks. Your input matters. Share your thoughts with us to help shape the future of the parks. Light refreshments and good company provided. Archery Skills: M-Archery Madness! Friday, March 16; 6:00 – 7:30 pm William Henry Harrison Park 644 Bierley Ave, Pemberville Beginning archers build their skills in this fun and instructional program, where we’ll focus on body posture and aiming, eventually progressing to moving ball targets! All archery equipment provided, personal gear welcome (inspected at program). Must be 7 years of age or older. Cost: $5/$3 FWCP. Register at, or call (419) 353-1897 Working with Black Swamp Soils Series                          Sundays, March 18, April 22, & May 20; 1:00 – 3:30 pm W.W. Knight Preserve 29530 White Road, Perrysburg Working with the soils of the Great Black Swamp can be a challenge. In this workshop series participants will learn how to identify the soils on their property; test soil for various properties and learn how to mitigate some of the challenges. Topics will include soil management, native plants, ways to attract wildlife and sustainability. Sign up for the March 18 session only and plan to attend the April and May sessions. Register at, or call (419) 353-1897 Spring Solstice Woodcock Wander                          Tuesday, March 20; 7:30 – 9:00 pm Slippery Elm Trail: Cricket Frog Cove 14810 Freyman Road, Cygnet As the sun sets a very special bird begins preparing for one the best aerial courtship displays in North America. He goes by names such as: bogsucker, timberdoodle, mudbat and many more. This will be a twilight hike under a crescent moon. We will listen for nocturnal wildlife and gaze at a…

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 said the memorial trees being transplanted are healthy oak, beech and maple. The largest is seven inches in diameter. “They are trees that are still small enough to survive if put someplace else,” Jones said. “They will stay there in City Park.” Those transplanted trees will get more water and care for the next couple summers. “They will need a little extra T.L.C.,” he said. There will, however, be a few larger trees in City Park that will likely need to come down for the new building. According to Jones, it looks like two large maples and two large oaks will need to be removed. “They are too big to try to move,” he said. “There are also some other small to medium sized trees in the project footprint that will likely be removed.” The city is working with the building planners to keep as many trees as possible. And more landscaping will be added to the area once the new building is in place, Otley said.

Historic farm acreage could be site for wetlands project

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Settlers in the Great Black Swamp worked hard to drain the soil to make fields that would grow crops rather than flood. Now, a group dedicated to conservation may work hard to turn one field back into wetlands. Melanie Coulter, of the Black Swamp Conservancy, presented a proposal on Tuesday to the Wood County Park District. The conservancy is a non-profit land trust with a goal of conserving primarily private and some public lands. Coulter’s proposal to the park district board was to set up a demonstration project on acreage at the Carter Historic Farm, located north of Bowling Green on Carter Road. “It’s a working farm that the public comes to,” she said. So the project could become an example of how wetlands can be used to filter out nutrients from farm fields. The preliminary proposal calls for a series of wetlands with a wooded buffer on 20 acres on the far west end of the farm. The acreage involved sits along a ditch that flows into Toussaint Creek. If grant funding is received, a public meeting would then be held to explain the wetlands project, Coulter told the park board. The wetlands would be designed to create wildlife habitat, she added. The acreage being considered for the wetlands project would be on land currently being used as farmland. The existing wooded area near the field would not be touched and the existing drainage would not be changed. Working on the design of the demonstration project is Hull & Associates. The construction of a wetlands and buffer area would be quite expensive. The preliminary estimate is in the $400,000 range, Coulter said. That amount could be trimmed if the acreage was reduced, she said. Wood County Park District Executive Director Neil Munger said if the project proceeds past the design stage, grant funding would be sought for construction. Since the Toussaint Creek is in the Maumee “area of concern” for waterways and contamination of Lake Erie, the wetlands demonstration project may stand a better chance of receiving funding, Coulter said.

Park district grants pay for playgrounds, picnic tables

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   For 30 years, the Wood County Park District has been sharing its levy revenues with local community parks. Towns use the funds for picnic tables, playground equipment and ADA sidewalks to parking lots. This year was no different, with the county park board getting a list Tuesday of the community requests selected for funding by park officials from neighboring counties. Neil Munger, executive director of the Wood County Park District, explained the local grants have been awarded since the passage of the first park district levy in 1988. This year another $100,000 will be handed out to meet the following requests: Bloomdale, $4,157 for picnic tables. Bowling Green, $4,332 to fund features for obstacle course fitness trail. Bradner, $2,479 for playground equipment. Custar, $6,900 for walking path, rain garden and swing bench. Cygnet, $9,011 for playground safety surfacing and ADA sidewalk to parking lot and restrooms. North Baltimore, $14,872 for playground safety surfacing and to replace roofs on shelters. Pemberville, $8,635 to complete shelter house conversion and playground mulch. Perrysburg, $11,949 for sunshades and swing bench. Walbridge, $14,372 for construction of a new basketball court. West Millgrove, $14,988 for playground equipment and safety surfacing. Weston, $8,305 for sunshade. Two park grant requests – one from Luckey and one from Tontogany – did not make the cut. The park district plans to continue its grants to local community parks, but first it must pass its 1-mill renewal levy in May. Board President Denny Parish noted the park district has less than 90 days till the May 8 election. The levy is the “lifeblood of the park system,” Parish said. “I hope the public will continue to support us in May and into the future,” he said. Parish said he has been asked by some local citizens how the park district can project 10 years into the future. “We have five citizen volunteers sitting in chairs as park commissioners who are very aware these are taxpayer funds,” he said. Also at the meeting, the board heard an update on county park projects from Jeff Baney, assistant park district director. Some of the projects with bigger price tags for this year include: $420,000 for the interpretive center at Sawyer Quarry in Perrysburg Township. $125,000 for a parking lot and bridge over a ditch for Baldwin Woods near Weston. $50,000 for new playground equipment at William Henry Harrison Park on the edge of Pemberville. $50,000 for new playground equipment at Otsego Park near Grand Rapids. $13,860 for acoustic treatment of the great room at W.W. Knight Nature Preserve in Perrysburg Township. $12,500 for deck repairs at the W.W. Knight Nature Preserve in Perrysburg Township. Also at the meeting, Chief Ranger Todd Nofzinger talked about the duties of the six full-time rangers. The certified peace officers work 365 days a year, since the parks are open every day. The rangers open and close all the rental facilities. Last year that consisted of more than 500 rentals of the district’s 12 facilities. The rangers also work on fishing programs, hunter education, bike safety, a rappelling program, First Aid and CPR training, women’s self defense, the Adopt-a-Trail program, canoeing and gun safety. The rangers provide parking services and security at big events like the annual walleye fishing run, the…

New Wintergarden Park fireplace has stories to share

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The new fireplace at the Wintergarden Park Rotary Nature Center tells a story – many stories, actually. As part of the renovations at the nature center, the building got new kitchen, drywall, lighting, insulation, and new floors. But the focus of the facelift is the fireplace. The Bowling Green Park and Recreation Department sent word out that it wanted the fireplace to have personality – not like the former 1970s red brick façade. So local residents were asked to donate interesting rocks for the fireplace front. To create a conversation piece, park patrons handed over stones and items collected from around the world. The fireplace includes rocks from Nome in Alaska, Rome, Normandy in France, and Michigan. There are also fossils, a snail from Germany and a mollusk from Texas. Some items came from close to home, like the piece of green Bowling Green glass. There are also a few flat stones shelves jutting out on the fireplace front, making homes for a taxidermied owl and mink, and a set of deer antlers. “The fireplace is amazing,” Chris Gajewicz, natural resources coordinator with the parks, said recently at a park and recreation board meeting. The new kitchen will also be a welcome renovation for those who rent the facility. There is now a new refrigerator-freezer, plus upgraded electric service, with crockpot plugs lining the walls. The interior renovations are the second phase of improvements to Wintergarden Park. The first phase involved the construction of a maintenance building with restrooms for public use. That part of the renovations was completed last year. Both phases were paid for by the fundraising efforts of the Bowling Green Parks Foundation. The nature center still needs new furniture, but Cinda Stutzman, natural resources specialist with the parks, is looking forward to showing off the renovations. “Hopefully we can get people in here soon,” she said. “It’s a lovely facelift. We’re hoping, obviously, that it will be rented more frequently.”

Big year at BG parks – bubble soccer, Bigfoot & more

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bigfoot, bubble soccer and birthday party packages are part the Bowling Green Parks and Recreation Department’s plans for 2018. Those, of course, are among the more click-worthy items planned. There are also the more humdrum items like policy reviews, paving, and painting at the pool. On Tuesday evening, the parks and recreation board reviewed accomplishments from 2017 and goals for 2018. The accomplishments included adding more youth and family fitness programs, making parks more accessible to people with disabilities, repairing the stone wall around City Park, paving more trails at Simpson Garden Park, beginning two-acre prairie expansion behind the Community Center, and adding to the splashpad at the pool. “We got a lot done in 2017,” said Kristin Otley, director of the city parks and recreation department. The goals for this year include: Demolish the Veterans Building, Scout Building and Depot in City Park and replace it with one new building. Expand youth and family fitness programs. Start bubble soccer league. Expand birthday party packages. Start programs for adult birding and adult nature study. Level and reseed turf in open area at Ridge Park. Continue paving trails at Simpson Garden Park. Continue to expand hosta garden to 1,000 different species. Continue to expand outdoor obstacle course behind community center. Offer aqua spinning class at the pool. Also at Tuesday’s meeting, Otley presented numbers of people participating in various park programs. The total number of people attending park and recreation events last year was 18,591. “It’s pretty neat to look at that. I feel great about that,” Otley said. Jeff Crawford, president of the park and rec board, complimented Otley and her team for reaching that number. “Congratulations. I’m actually staggered at these numbers,” Crawford said. Following are some of the events and numbers presented: 3,906 attended community special events, like the Brown Bag Music Series, Frostbite Run, Art in the Park, pet show, concerts and lunches in the park. 7,519 attended adult and youth fitness programs. 389 attended adult sports programs, like volleyball and basketball leagues. 135 attended adult recreation events, like the Adult Egg Scramble. 468 attended youth and family events, like the Daddy-Daughter Dance, Pint Size Prom, BG Zombie Mud Run and Breakfast with Santa. 498 attended day camps and days off school programs. 1,662 attended youth sports programs, like dodgeball, soccer, basketball, softball, tennis and volleyball. 523 attended youth swimming lessons. 2,744 attended natural resources programming at Wintergarden Park. 612 attended programs at Simpson Garden Park. 135 attended archery programs. Otley also reported on the number of people using the Community Center. Daily visits logged in last year totaled 97,262. The multipurpose room was used 820 times, and the cycle room was used 288 times. The total fitness program participants added up to 8,559. The gyms were reserved and used 1,022 times for events such as pickle ball, youth camps, National Guard, and family events. Most of those numbers are not reflected in the daily swipes at the center, since people don’t need to enter their membership card to attend those programs. The classroom space was used 112 times, and the Wood Lane Special Olympics gym was reserved 262 times. The National Guard holds 11 drill weekends and one family readiness night a year at the center. So, a…

Park district to maintain solar sanctuary for birds, bees and butterflies

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The Wood County Park District has agreed to play a role in a local sanctuary for butterflies, bees and birds. The park board voted unanimously Tuesday to maintain the 13.4-acre “solar sanctuary” planned around the solar field near the corner of Newton and Carter roads, northeast of Bowling Green. The project fits nicely into the mission of the park district, according to Neil Munger, executive director of the district. In exchange for maintaining the site, the park district can use the wildflower sanctuary as an educational tool. “It’s been an ongoing issue around the country – the loss of pollinator habitat,” Munger said. The city of Bowling Green is working with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to develop a wildlife and pollinator habitat around the new 165-acre solar field. One goal of the wildlife habitat area is to bring back pollinators to the region. Adult Monarch butterflies have seen a 50 percent drop in the last 10 years due to disappearing milkweed plants  – which are the only plants used by Monarchs for laying eggs. Some wildflower habitats target specific species. The one at Bowling Green’s solar site will be aimed at attracting several species of bees, birds and butterflies. The plan calls for three seasons of blooming plants. The wild habitat area, which will be planted outside the fenced-in solar array, is intended to benefit various pollinators, crops, soil quality, water quality, foraging birds and Monarchs. Ohio is a priority location for Monarchs on their annual trek to Mexico. This region also has many crops that are suffering from inadequate pollination. Crops relying on pollination include tomatoes, blueberries, melons, soybeans, peppers, peaches, cucumbers, squash and apples. Honey bees account for more than $15 billion in agricultural production of fruits, vegetables and nuts. Water and soil quality are also helped by the wildflower habitats because the native plants have deeper root systems and add nitrogen to the soil. The plants also attract insects, which are a food staple for many birds, and provide bird nesting areas in tall grasses. The wildlife habitat will be a team project of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, the City of Bowling Green, Next Era Energy, American Municipal Power, and Bowling Green State University. The final partner to sign on was the park district, which will maintain the site and use it as part of its educational programming. Maintenance basically means mowing the site once a year, Munger said. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials hope to plant the site this year. In other business at the park district meeting, the board welcomed new members Bill Cameron from North Baltimore, Tom Myers from Perrysburg, and Sandy Wiechman from Bowling Green. The board re-elected Denny Parish as chairman and Bob Hawker as vice chairman. The board decided to continue meeting on the second Tuesday of each month, at 3 p.m. During the winter months, the meetings will be held at the park district headquarters on Mercer Road. During the warmer months, the meetings will move to various parks in the county. Also at the meeting, Munger updated the board on the American Electric Power easement request to run poles along the Slippery Elm Trail near North Baltimore. Prior to Tuesday’s park board meeting, Munger heard…

BG moves ahead on roundabouts and City Park building

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green rounded out the year Thursday by approving steps for the city’s first roundabouts and a new building in City Park. During its final meeting of the year, City Council voted unanimously to issue a total of nearly $10 million in bonds to finance both projects. For the roundabouts, $6.2 million in bonds will be used to improve the Interstate 75 and East Wooster Street area by constructing rotary intersections. “This is a great piece of legislation to end the year on,” said council member Bruce Jeffers. The city has been working on the East Wooster improvements for years, he noted. Jeffers told Mayor Dick Edwards that he recently visited the community of Carmel, Indiana, which the mayor frequently points out as a community that knows how to use roundabouts. Carmel has 100 of the circular intersections. “The roundabouts are going to be great” in Bowling Green, Jeffers said. 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. Also at Thursday’s meeting, council approved the sale of $3.75 million in bonds to tear down three old buildings and construct a new one in City Park. “This is great news,” Kristin Otley, director of the city park and recreation department, said after the meeting. “We’re excited. We’ll get working on it.” 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 authorized the municipal administrator to enter into contracts for architectural…

County parks to spend $807,990 on site improvements

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Wood County Park District is planning more than $800,000 in capital improvements to its parks in 2018. More than half of the money – $420,000 will be spent on renovations to the Sawyer Quarry Preserve interpretive center in Perrysburg Township. That park, off Lime City Road, offers rappelling and bouldering in an old quarry. The other big ticket items for next year include $125,000 for bridge and parking lot construction at Baldwin Woods, where seasonal hunting is allowed, near Weston; $50,000 for playground equipment at William Henry Harrison Park near Pembervillle; and another $50,000 for playground equipment at Otsego Park near Grand Rapids. Following is a list of the improvements planned at the park district’s 20 sites: Buttonwood Park – $8,300 for parking lot repairs and miscellaneous. Cedar Creeks – $17,200 for parking lot sealcoat, paint restrooms and miscellaneous. Fuller Preserve – $500 for miscellaneous. William Henry Harrison – $52,000 for playground equipment and miscellaneous. Park headquarters – $2,000 for miscellaneous. W. Knight Preserve – $30,960 for nature center deck repairs, great room acoustic treatment, LOONA room window replacement and miscellaneous. Otsego Park – $61,000 for parking lot sealcoat, playground equipment and miscellaneous. Wood County Historical Center – $10,000 for shelter house repairs and miscellaneous. Zimmerman School – $12,800 for brick repairs, entrance ramp and entrance door replacement. Slippery Elm Trail – $23,850 to paint bollard posts, repair bridge railings; Cricket Frog Cove, miscellaneous; Rudolph Savanna/Midwood for pole barn repairs; and Black Swamp Preserve for boardwalk repairs. Baldwin Woods – $126,000 for bridge and parking lot construction, and miscellaneous. Carter Historic Farm – $17,980 for barn roof beam repair, barn ridge cap replacement , stone path to school, pasture fencing, orchard trees, parking lot repairs and miscellaneous. Bradner Preserve – $14,050 for deck construction, picnic tables, grill and miscellaneous. Beaver Creek Preserve – $3,000 for building furnishings and miscellaneous. Reuthinger Preserve – $7,650 for radiant heat for shop, replacement lighting for shop and miscellaneous. Sawyer Quarry Preserve – $427,000 for interpretive center renovations and building improvements, trail construction and miscellaneous. Other business discussed at Tuesday’s park district board meeting included an update on a request from AEP for an easement along the Slippery Elm Trail for power lines. Park District Director Neil Munger said that the revised request was much more acceptable than the original request, which asked for an easement along the west side of the trail from Quarry Road to the south end of the trail on Cherry Street in North Baltimore. The new request was for a much smaller area, including 0.001 acres near Needles Road plus at the very end of the trail. “This is a much better option here,” Munger said. “I was very happy to hear this.” The original request for AEP was met by opposition from people who did not want to see the trees and brush cut down on the west side of the trail. A representative of AEP plans to attend the park district’s January meeting. “I told him we weren’t really happy with what we were hearing,” Munger said of the original plans. Also at Tuesday’s meeting, board president Denny Parish mentioned that he had received questions about why Wood County Park District does not need to cull the deer population like…

County park district to make its case for renewal levy

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   When voters see the Wood County Park District levy on the May 2018 ballot, park officials really hope the voters don’t confuse this levy with the park levy recently passed in Bowling Green. Many local citizens seem to confuse the county park district with the Bowling Green parks and recreation department. And that has the county park board a bit worried about its 1-mill renewal levy set to appear on the May 8 ballot. “There is a very big disconnect” between the two park programs, said Jamie Sands, volunteer services and communications specialist with the county park district. That could be particularly bad for the county park district if voters confuse the May levy with the city park and recreation levy passed in November. “People think they’ve already passed the levy for the parks,” Sands said Tuesday during the monthly meeting of the Wood County Park District Board. “We’re hoping to get the word out.” The county park board voted unanimously Tuesday to put a 1-mill levy on in May. Board President Denny Parish stressed that the renewal will be same millage sought when the park district last passed its levy in 2008. “Which means no new taxes,” Parish said. For the last decade, the levy has generated about $2.8 million a year. That amount is expected to grow to $3 million a year because of new construction in the county. “It won’t cost individual homeowners more than they’ve been paying for the last 10 years.” After Tuesday’s meeting, Wood County Park District Director Neil Munger said the district is committed to not raising the tax burden on local residents. Over the last several years, the park district has focused funding on land acquisitions.  That focus is about to shift. “I think we’re looking at a maintenance phase,” Munger said. Future land acquisitions will rely on grants or other funding options, he said. “We will be looking for other sources of funding rather than going to the taxpayers.” In the meantime, the county park district will be continuing to try to get the word out to local residents about the county parklands and programs. Sands said a recent online survey received responses from more than 2,000 people. A park volunteer survey was completed by about 300 people. And a five-question survey will soon be sent out to “key decision makers” in the county. The answers will be used to help formulate a strategic plan for the park district, and then pitch it to local residents. “We want to tell everyone what our goals are for the future,” Sands said. Visits are also being made to senior centers throughout the county to make older residents aware of the parks and services offered. “A lot of people don’t know all the parks and services,” Sands said, stressing the number of free programs and wellness-based options. “We’re touting the health benefits of being in nature.” The Wood County Park District has 20 sites throughout the county, including Adam Phillips Pond, Baldwin Woods Preserve, Bradner Preserve, Beaver Creek Preserve, Black Swamp Preserve, Buttonwood Recreation Area, Carter Historic Farm, Cedar Creeks Preserve, Fuller Preserve, William Henry Harrison Park, W.W. Knight Preserve, Otsego Park, Reuthinger Memorial Preserve, Sawyer Quarry Nature Preserve, Slippery Elm Trail, Rudolph Savanna Area, Cricket…