By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN
BG Independent News
Like the structure it is replacing, the new building planned for City Park will be a salute to veterans.
A resolution drafted for Bowling Green City Council suggests that the new building keep the old name – the Veterans Building. The park board agrees that the name should reflect the same reverence to veterans.
However, always being conscious of the use of taxpayer funds, Parks and Recreation Director Kristin Otley is also looking at ways to make the most of public funding. So at a recent park and recreation board meeting, Otley suggested that the city consider sharing naming rights with major donors toward the new building.
By asking for donations for the project, the city could more quickly pay off the $3.75 million in bonds for tearing down the old buildings and putting up the new one. Community residents and organizations may be interested in sponsoring the building or specific rooms in the building, Otley said.
The name sharing would not detract from the focus on veterans, she assured. Plans are already in place for the lobby to be a place dedicated to veterans memorabilia.
Sometime in January or February, the three buildings near the entrance of City Park – the Veterans Building, Girl Scout Building, and Depot – will be demolished.
The three buildings will be replaced with one new building, with construction likely to begin in March of 2019. The goal is to have the new City Park building completed by summer of 2020.
The city is working on the project with Schorr Architects, a firm that specializes in new buildings that reflect historic values. The architectural firm has contracted with the local Poggemeyer Design Group.
The new building will have adequate space for programming, storage, air conditioning, ADA accessibility, ample parking and an attractive design that reflects the historic nature of City Park.
Also at last week’s meeting, the board had a preliminary discussion about raising fees for park and recreation events. The proposal asks for 3 percent increases for most programming and events. The program fees were last increased in 2016.
No rate increases are planned for the community center or classes there.
The board will likely take action on the fee hikes in September, so City Council can vote on the changes in October. That would allow the new rates to be in place for 2019.
Rates to rent park facilities may also be increased, since they have not been changed since 2015. The proposed rate hikes are $5 to $10, Otley said.
The board is also considering bumping up “support rates” for groups like the Horizon Youth Theatre, which rents facilities at reduced rates now. The $25 charge may be increased to $30 to help cover costs.
To help other community non-profit groups, the board is considering offering a reduced rate for organizations using facilities for fundraisers or programs that benefit the community.