By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN
BG Independent News
The 20 acres behind the Bowling Green community center are gradually taking shape – with soccer goals to score, obstacles to climb, and soon open grassy fields to play on.
Last year, four of the 20 acres just south of the community center were turned into “pristine game fields,” said Kristin Otley, director of the parks and recreation department. That was the first goal for that site in the five-year master plan, Otley reported to the Bowling Green Parks and Recreation Board last week.
Then an obstacle course was built for those wanting an extra challenge. And a portion of the acreage is being restored as a natural prairie area.
Next the remaining 12 acres or so will be leveled and reseeded for an open grassy play space.
“The plan has always been to level and seed,” so the site will be “playable for anything.” In time, the space could be used for some outdoor fitness classes, Otley said.
Parking for the athletic site is in front of the community center, so a trail will be paved between the parking lot and the fields. And since Newton Road has flooded twice in recent years and required closure of the community center, the paved trail may be wide enough to be used as an emergency roadway from Haskins Road to the community center.
Eventually, restrooms and more storage may be added to the athletic fields as well, Otley said.
A fence was erected last year along Haskins Road to keep soccer balls from bouncing in the road and kids chasing after them. And earlier this year, a fence was constructed between the athletic fields and the fairgrounds to the south by the National Tractor Pulling Association.
The policies approved by the board for use of the fields state that the space is designed for sports such as lacrosse, rugby, soccer and volleyball. The site will be used primarily as a game field site for various sport leagues and tournaments. Upon approval of the parks and recreation department, the fields may also be used for sports camps or clinics.
The policies document gives the parks and recreation department the first priority for scheduling and usage of the fields. Groups that partner with the department will have top priority, followed by sanctioned clubs/organizations with a non-profit status, and then for profit organizations.
The fields may only be used with approval from the Bowling Green Parks and Recreation Department.
Also at the meeting, park facilities coordinator Tim Stubbs reported on progress with plans to renovate the Rotary Nature Center in Wintergarden Park. The final drawing and specs are completed, and six to seven contractors have expressed interest in the project.
“We’re hoping we can get this thing going and done by spring,” he said.
In other business at the park and recreation board meeting:
- Otley informed the board that BG Beerworks is planning to make a special brew for the annual wine and cheese fundraiser on Sept. 22. The brew will be called Parks & Rec Red.
- Cheryl Windisch, president of the Parks and Recreation Foundation, reported that a recent fundraiser at Sunset Bistro raised $750 for the foundation. Dairy Queen and Eden Boutique have also held fundraisers. “It’s just really heartwarming to have the business community supporting us this way,” she said.
- Final numbers weren’t available yet, but the city pool saw a drop in attendance this summer, likely due to the cooler weather.
- Stubbs reported the community center got a fresh coat of paint recently while the facility was closed for annual maintenance.
- Ivan Kovacevic, recreation coordinator, presented numbers for the summer lunches and concerts in City Park. There were eight lunches in the park, with 1,159 people purchasing lunches for an average of 145 people per event. There were six concerts, attracting a total of 1,256 people for an average 209 per event.