East Side may get revitalization plan

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN

BG Independent News

 

Neglected and abused housing on Bowling Green’s East Side may soon be addressed in a revitalization plan.

Bowling Green City Council heard the first reading Monday evening of a plan to contract with consultants to develop a strategic revitalization plan for the northeast and the southeast neighborhoods of the city.

“We’ve been talking about the need to revitalize these neighborhoods,” council member Daniel Gordon said after the meeting.

The decline of the housing stock around Bowling Green State University has been going on for years, Gordon said. “The city has not intervened,” he said.

Much of the traditional single family housing has been converted into rental units. “When you have that unbalance created,” the housing problems worsen, Gordon said.

Council member Sandy Rowland said she has been a strong advocate of getting the revitalization plan moving.

“I know what the situation on the East Side is with housing,” she said.

Since she works in the real estate industry, Rowland said she is aware the problems don’t stop at Main Street which divides the east and west sides of the city.

“It affects the entire city,” she said, after the meeting.

When the city recently updated its land use plan, the consultant ranked revitalization of the East Side was high on the priority list, Rowland said.

More and more of the single-family homes close to the university are being converted into rentals. “And when those wonderful homes are turned into rentals, they rapidly deteriorate.”

Consequently, fewer and fewer homes appeal to young couples and young professionals looking to purchase homes, Rowland said.

Gordon is hoping that the revitalization plan is more than conceptual and has some real teeth.

One possibility would be the creation of revolving loans for homeowners wanting to spruce up their structures.

“There have to be some incentives,” Rowland said.

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