By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN
BG Independent News
Adam Kirian and Adrian Lowien came to the Community Action Plan open house for two reasons – 10-week-old twins Charlie and Freddie, who attended bundled in blankets.
“We wanted to get some input for these little guys as they get older,” Kirian said as he looked at the tiny twins.
The couple lives on the East Side of Bowling Green, which is the focus of much of the community action plan.
“I’m glad they are trying to clean up the area,” Lowien said.
The couple has a home on Clough Street, with several neighboring rental properties leased to BGSU students.
“Sometimes they are really good kids and sometimes you want to call the cops every night,” Kirian said.
Overall, the young couple liked what they saw at the community plan open house held Tuesday evening in the atrium of the Wood County Courthouse.
“We like a lot of it,” Lowien said, especially the emphasis on open spaces. “I’d like to see more green spaces and parks. That would encourage more families.”
From the other side of town was Beverly Miner, who also approved of the plans presented on big charts.
“The theory is good,” she said, then added, “But it takes money to do things.”
Miner particularly liked the proposals to upgrade housing, work on bettering the relationship between the city and the campus, putting a bike path on Court Street, and planning a Court Street festival. In fact, she’d like to see each area of the city have festivals.
“I think the East Side kind of gets a bad rep,” she said. “I think we’ve got a great town.”
Miner also thought the community planning process benefited from bringing in an outside firm as a consultant. “I’ve been impressed with the people here,” she said of the Camiros group from Chicago. “They can come in with an objective view.”
Jill Carr, who served on the city’s future land use committee, appreciated seeing the effort taken to the next level. “It’s really encouraging.”
“I love the emphasis on the East Side,” she said. “We can’t forget about the rest of the community, but that’s where we need to start.”
Carr also appreciates the Court Street effort. “It’s a great way to tie the university and community together.”
She also noted the value of the new Good Neighbor Guide. “We all need that,” she said. The guide gives residents tips on how to handle issues such as vehicles parked in a neighbor’s front lawn, tall grass or neighborhood dogs that bark excessively.
Erin Hachtel said the plans presented at the open house accurately represented input from public meetings with the consultant and the community.
“I think it’s really exciting to see how the input of the last months has gelled into this. It’s clear they have been listening,” she said.
Though everyone has their own parochial concerns, the community action plan has “an exciting vision” for the entire city, Hachtel said.
In addition to many citizens checking out the charts, several city officials also attended the open house. City Council President Michael Aspacher was pleased with the planning efforts. “This is a great process,” he said. “All of us are looking forward to some concrete outcomes.”
Bowling Green Planning Director Heather Sayler was pleased with the attendance.
“The hope is that we really get some feedback,” she said. The ultimate goal is “improving the public realm in hope that private investment follows.”