Court Street Connects

BG block party brings community and campus together

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green’s block party on Saturday met all the qualifications – live music, food, dogs and people of all ages. Spectators sat on straw bales as they watched musicians perform from the makeshift stage, complete with cardboard curtains, in front of the county courthouse. Children played games of giant checkers and got their faces painted. The hungry filled up on Chicago dogs and onion rings. And young and old pedaled along the temporary bike lane along East Court Street. “It’s close to perfect,” said Heather Sayler, city planning director who was in charge of organizing the Court Street Connects event. “We’ve had a constant stream of people since 10 o’clock,” she said. “I don’t think we could ask for anything better.” The block party was the brainchild of the city’s Community Action Plan process. At a series of public meetings, Bowling Green residents were asked what project they wanted to try out first in an effort to improve neighborhoods on the East Side. The block party was top on the list. “This is great,” said Adam Rosa, a principle with Camiros, the consulting firm helping with the Community Action Plan. “It’s amazing how much energy has gone into this. It’s great seeing all the energy.” The goal of Court Street Connects goes far beyond the one-day block party. “When people see changes in their neighborhood, it brings other positive changes,” Rosa said. “It will help with decision making about what we want to do.” Sayler agreed. “This makes people recognize this area could be more,” she said. The event created new and strengthened existing relationships between neighborhood groups, the city and students. “These partnerships will be great,” Sayler said. The event also served its purpose of bringing campus and community together – with all ages attending the block party. “That’s been really cool to see,” Rosa said. For example, the event brought Karen Walters and some young thespians from Horizon Youth Theatre to the event. After performing in front of the courthouse, they checked out the chairs made by BGSU students from recycled wood pallets, they tried out the bike lane, and got some free bike helmets. “I think it’s a nice idea to celebrate the connections” between the campus and community, Walters said. “We have so many advantages in town because of the connections, so it’s nice to celebrate that.” On the other side of the courthouse lawn, three BGSU students were checking out information on county parks and on sustainable energy. “I think it’s cool,”…


All of BG invited to giant community block party

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Citizens of Bowling Green are invited to a giant block party on Saturday, April 22. Actually, it’s a party covering multiple blocks and the entire city is welcome to attend from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The idea for “Court Street Connects” was born at a Community Action Plan meeting last year. The concept for a block party was top on the list for local residents wanting to bring about positive changes in city – especially the East Side. Court Street was identified as a great location since it is a natural corridor between Bowling Green State University and downtown. But the party is reaching far beyond that one street, said Heather Sayler, the city’s planning director who has been working on the Community Action Plan. “To improve neighborhoods, you’ve got to bring a lot of people together,” Sayler said. “It’s really exciting.” Those coming together to make the block party a big bash include the city, BGSU, Wood County, fire division, police division, parks and recreation department, bicycle safety commission, BG City Schools, Wood County Historical Society, local businesses, library, bookmobile, the Common Good, county solid waste agency, county park district, Wood County Hospital, East Side Neighborhood Group, Habitat for Humanity and more. “It’s all free,” Sayler said, including many children’s activities. Various types of entertainment will be provided from the Wood County Courthouse steps, including acoustic music, theater and poetry reading. There will also be “pop-up art” along the street. Q’dobe will have a food truck on site. The city will also be test driving  bike lanes, which will be painted on the south side of Court Street, from Prospect Street to Thurstin Avenue. “People want more transportation options,” such as bike lanes, Sayler said. “This is a cheap, low-cost way.” City officials hope to measure the popularity of the bike lanes. “We’re actually going to collect some data.” In addition to the bike lane, the Court Street Connects event is also intended to highlight the assets of the neighborhood – historic homes, the grand courthouse, Trinity United Methodist Church, businesses and the corridor between downtown and BGSU. Court Street Connects is “designed to celebrate our unique town-gown relationship while bringing attention to the neighborhood between BGSU and Downtown. Residents and stakeholders have envisioned Court Street Connects as a key part of the Bowling Green Community Action Plan,” the city has stated about the event. “The event will engage residents in thinking about public and private improvements that can occur on and around the important…