By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN
BG Independent News
No battle lines were drawn, but there are some strong feelings about veterans retaining top billing in the new structure replacing City Park’s Veterans Memorial Building.
City Council member Greg Robinette – a veteran himself – reported to council Monday evening that he had spoken with Dave Ridenour of American Legion Post 45 about the history of the existing building.
The local legion had leased the building from the city for its post headquarters from 1929 to 1979, Ridenour said. Even after the headquarters moved, the city decided to continue honoring local veterans by keeping the name Veterans Memorial Building.
While city officials would like to continue that tradition, they would also like to reduce the debt on the new building by looking for private sponsorship of the new structure.
“I fully understand,” that desire to look for naming rights, Robinette said. The building name could be a compromise between a major donor and local veterans. “I think we can make that work.”
But council member Bruce Jeffers expressed some concern that the respect for local veterans not be clouded by recognition of a private donor. He also talked about the value of a veterans display inside the new building.
“It seems we might want to distinguish between those who have served in combat zones,” Jeffers said.
Council member Sandy Rowland said she supports the continued recognition of local veterans in the name of the building. However, she mentioned the effort the city is making to get a return on its investment of $3.75 million in bonds for the new building.
The building is expected to be used by community members for events such as weddings, memorials and other public gatherings.
“I think we have to be careful in the way we outfit the interior,” Rowland said.
For example, a display of weapons of war may make the building less appealing to those wanting to rent it for occasions like weddings.
“I hope we don’t plan on putting a cannon in there,” Rowland said.
Also at Monday’s meeting, Mayor Dick Edwards recognized Earlene Kilpatrick, who is retiring from her position as executive director of the Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce.
“You’ve had a wonderful working relationship with the city,” Edwards said to Kilpatrick.
During her years as director, the city saw many groundbreakings, the mayor said.
“You haven’t allowed the ceremonial scissors to rest.”
Municipal Administrator Lori Tretter also thanked Kilpatrick for working so closely with the city.
“It really has been a pleasure to work with you,” Tretter said. “You’ve been a tremendous asset.”
Kilpatrick in turn thanked city leaders for their support.
“You really care. That’s what’s so special,” she said. “Keep up the great work. It’s been my pleasure to be a part of that.”
Also at the meeting, council approved the purchase of 1.57 acres at 315 and 325 N. Grove St. for $500,000. The property sits just to the east of the city’s water and sewer division at 324 N. Maple St.
The property, which was formerly the site of BG Block and Lumber, will secure a long-term home for the water and sewer division, and possibly provide room for future growth. The water and sewer division could use three of the buildings on the property, totaling about 10,000 square feet, for cold storage of materials, hydrants, valves, topsoil and sand. The city’s electric division currently has transformers and other equipment sitting outside on the North Maple Street property.
In other business:
- Tretter reported to council that work is ongoing to align the city’s land use plan with its zoning classifications. A report will be presented to City Council in December.
- Public utilities director Brian O’Connell reported that Doug Clark, the wastewater plant superintendent, was recently recognized as top in the state for his profession.
- O’Connell also mentioned that a crew of three Bowling Green electric workers are ready to head to North Carolina if needed to help with repairs after Hurricane Florence. However, O’Connell learned Tuesday morning that the crews were not needed since the damage was not as great as expected.
- Otley reported the 23rd Annual Wine & Cheese Social and Auction for BG Parks and Recreation will be held Sept. 28, from 5 to 8 p.m., in the Simpson Building. The proceeds will benefit Ridge Park.