Wooster Green

Digging begins for gazebo in BG’s Wooster Green

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Dirt has been moved on the Wooster Green to make way for the gazebo on the town’s new gathering place. Mayor Dick Edwards announced at Bowling Green City Council meeting on Monday evening that the site will be officially dedicated by the community on June 1, at 4 p.m. Workers are “taking advantage of the relatively good weather” to make progress on the site, Edwards said. The Wooster Green improvements are being funded by private donations. The mayor said Monday evening that nearly 60 percent of the funding is in – despite the fact that the fundraising campaign hasn’t officially started. The estimated cost of Wooster Green is $300,000. A number of “thoughtful citizens” have made contributions, with one family donating the entire amount needed for the gazebo, Edwards said. The green space design includes an arched entry, a display area for a sculpture, and a gazebo-like structure. The structure will have a more open and contemporary look, but have the traditional cupola on top. It will be equipped with sound amplification. The space will include tree-lined streets, other landscaping, bicycle racks, benches, streetlights and trash receptacles that match the style used downtown. Plans also call for places where people can plug in to charge their handheld devices. Restrooms and water fountains are not included in the plans because of the expense. The site is intended to be a community gathering space, not a venue for huge events. “Right from the very beginning, we’ve said this is going to be a passive space,” Edwards said last year.


Exchange Club kicks in $10,000 for Wooster Green

From THE EXCHANGE CLUB OF BOWLING GREEN The Exchange Club of Bowling Green has donated $10,000 towards the development of the Wooster Green Project.  “Wooster Green is an important community effort that will greatly enhance the quality of life in Bowling Green and the Exchange Club is pleased to support this project,” said Club President Jenny Swope.  “We think it will be an exciting addition to our city and we are proud to join other community groups and individuals in helping Wooster Green become a reality,” she added. Since its 1946 founding in Bowling Green, the Exchange Club has a long history of supporting community organizations and programs, including scholarships for Bowling Green High School students, charitable work, donations to community organizations, and participating in community events. Prevention of child abuse is a prime club focus. Funds to support its philanthropy efforts comes primarily from the Exchange Club’s annual pancake breakfast, which this year will be March 17 in the Bowling Green High School cafeteria, and a Reverse Raffle. The Exchange Club meets at noon on Tuesdays at Stone Ridge Golf Club. Visitors are welcome to learn more about the Club and its upcoming events.


BG to get a new look – and new smell – in 2018

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green will be getting some makeovers this year. People entering the city from Interstate 75 will encounter a new look on East Wooster Street and less odors from the wastewater plant. In the downtown area, the new Wooster Green is scheduled to get a gazebo this spring. Mayor Dick Edwards, one of the main forces behind the Wooster Green project, reported to City Council Tuesday that in late April or early May, the gazebo will be built on the Wooster Green at the corner of West Wooster and South Church streets. Edwards also noted that more than $230,000 had already been pledged for the project. A sign has been erected in the green space, showing the proposed entry for the community gathering space. The East Wooster Street corridor is getting multiple crosswalks, which should be completed this spring, Public Works Director Brian Craft reported. Preliminary work will begin for the roundabouts at the Interstate 75 interchanges. Public Utilities Director Brian O’Connell said odor control measures will be installed at the wastewaster plant this spring. The plant, which sits along I-75, has been the source of many complaints about unappealing odors. And the city will begin tackling goals of the Community Action Plan – Neighborhood Revitalization Project. Planning Director Heather Sayler reported that the presentation of the Community Action Plan will be Feb. 28, at 6 p.m., in the Wood County Courthouse Atrium. On the business side, the mayor and Municipal Administrator Lori Tretter will be joining BG Economic Development Director Sue Clark for their annual visits to local manufacturers and other businesses in the community. Edwards said the visits are “eye-opening experiences” that are “reassuring.” “From all reports to date, we have every reason to believe that the economic growth and robust economic climate experienced by the city will continue in 2018,” Edwards said. The city hosted 30 ribbon cutting ceremonies in 2017 – a record,…


BG considers policies for use of Wooster Green site

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The design for the new Wooster Green has been determined, so the city is working to nail down rules for how the space can best serve its role as a public gathering place. The goal is for the open space at the corner of West Wooster Street and South Church Street to enhance the quality of life for Bowling Green residents, welcome visitors to the city, and increase commerce in the downtown. It has been recommended that the space be free and open to the public, except when previously reserved. The recommended rules (or policies) are as follows: – Amplified music or sound shall not be used unless previously authorized by the governing board. Such use shall not occur past 10 p.m. on weekdays (Monday-Thursday and Sunday) and 11 p.m. on the weekend (Friday and Saturday). These times may be amended by the governing board. – The sale and use of alcohol shall be done in accordance with applicable city ordinances and with the Ohio Revised Code. –  No one may use the space between the hours of 11 p.m. and 6 a.m., unless previously authorized by the governing board or the municipal administrator. –  Vehicles shall remain on the access road, or another designed vehicular point-of-entry, unless authorized by the municipal administrator or governing board. –  Those reserving or using the space shall not drive any stakes or rods into the ground unless authorized by the municipal administrator. Restriction of this type of activity is recommended to protect underground infrastructure. –  Any hanging or securing of displays and/or decorations should only be done in a manner that will not permanently alter the physical condition of the space/structures or materially alter their appearance. –  The governing board or municipal administrator may make exceptions to any of these policies. In the case of the municipal administrator, if an exception is granted or allowed, he/she should inform the other…


Citizens gather on Wooster Green to defend DACA

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Yvette Llanas, a lifelong Bowling Green resident and American citizen, never dreamed the threat of deportation would touch her family. Llanas found out last week she was wrong. “I never thought this would affect me,” Llanas said in an impromptu speech on the Wooster Green Sunday evening during a rally opposing President Donald Trump’s action to end DACA. “My daughter-in-law happens to be undocumented,” Llanas said. “The decision made this week just crushed my soul.” Her daughter-in-law came to America as a small child. “This is the only home she knows,” Llanas said. “She is part of our country,” as are her two children. “We are all immigrants here, somehow, some way,” Llanas said. About 60 local residents gathered in the Wooster Green to express their opposition to Trump’s announcement last week that he would end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program in six months if Congress doesn’t find a more permanent solution. Since it was enacted under President Barack Obama, about 800,000 immigrants who were children when they arrived in the U.S. illegally have received protections from the program. DACA allows young people brought to this country illegally by their parents to get a temporary reprieve from deportation and to receive permission to work, study and obtain driver’s licenses. Those signing up for DACA must show that they have clean criminal records. Their status is renewable every two years. “This is really targeting kids who were brought by their parents at a very early age,” said Beatriz Maya, of the La Conexion organization. “They don’t know any other life. It makes no sense for them to be deported. It’s very wrong. They cannot be blamed for anything.” Those attending the rally were asked to contact their congress members about the DACA issue. “The Dreamers don’t want citizenship just for themselves,” Maya said. “They want comprehensive immigration reform for 11 million undocumented immigrants, who have been…


Long-awaited design selected for Wooster Green

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The public spoke – at least 272 of them – and overwhelmingly supported the more meandering, less symmetrical plan for Wooster Green. So on Thursday, the Wooster Green steering committee made it official and voted to go with Option 2 for the 1.2 acres of green space where the junior high used to sit at the corner of West Wooster and South Church streets. “You’ve listened to the public. You made a decision. Now we can move forward with a plan,” Bowling Green Mayor Dick Edwards said to the group. Following a public meeting about the green space plans and a week of two possible designs being displayed in the library, the steering committee received 150 online reactions and 122 written surveys on the designs. Option 1 was a more symmetrical design, with the walkways forming an “X” on the site. Option 2 was a more casual look, with a meandering path. “There was clearly a preference for option No. 2,” said Bob Callecod, who is co-chair of the publicity and marketing committee with Ann-Marie Lancaster. Comments on Option 1 referred to the plan as too formal, boring, and having too many sidewalks, Callecod said. Comments on Option 2 used words such as “pleasing, relaxed and organic,” he added. “They liked it because of the gentleness of it,” Callecod said of the plan with curved walkways and more open green space. “I think we got reasonably good participation,” Lancaster said of the community response. “People want to preserve a lot of the green space, and minimize the amount of concrete. Those were two driving factors in this design.” Some residents asked questions on the surveys about restrooms, water fountains, trees, benches and parking. Those were not included in the initial plan because the design was just looking at the placement of three major components – an arched entry, a display area for a sculpture, and a gazebo-like…


BG citizens asked for input on Wooster Green designs

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Plans for Wooster Green were pitched to city residents Wednesday afternoon. Now the wait begins to see if either pitch results in a home run. For four years, sketches have been drawn, erased and redrawn. Ideas have been shot down and replaced. Finally, the field has been narrowed down to two possibilities for Wooster Green. And now the public is being asked to weigh in. “It’s reaction time,” said Mayor Dick Edwards during the public meeting at Wood County District Public Library on Wednesday. Option 1 is a more symmetrical design, with the walkways forming an “X” on the site. Option 2 has a more casual look, with a meandering path. “They are both great options,” said Troy Sonner, of Poggemeyer Design Group, which is working on the plans at no cost as the firm’s 50th anniversary gift to the community. The plans will remain on display in the library through July 26. Paper feedback forms will be available. The plans will also appear on the city’s website, where online opinions may be submitted. “It’s really important for you to give us your feedback,” said Anne-Marie Lancaster, co-chair of the publicity and marketing committee for Wooster Green. Once a design is finalized, the fundraising will begin. It is estimated the site will cost about $300,000, according to the mayor. Donations and grants will be sought for the project, with no city money going toward the construction of the site. The 1.2-acre Wooster Green is located on the south side of West Wooster Street, close to the downtown, between South Church and South Grove streets. The site was formerly home to the Bowling Green Junior High. The two design options have several similarities. Both plans include the three main elements of an arched entry at the corner of West Wooster and South Church streets, a pavilion and a display area possibly for a sculpture. Both include tree-lined streets,…


Public input sought on two designs for Wooster Green

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green is looking for a green light on one of its two plans for the Wooster Green space being developed in the downtown. On Wednesday, July 19, local residents are invited to a program at the library, where both plans will be described, comments will be sought, and questions will be answered. “Obviously, the committee has worked very diligently on coming up with concepts,” said Bob Callecod, co-chair of the publicity and marketing committee for Wooster Green. “We want to know if we’re on the right track.” All of the meetings on the green space have been open to the public, but very few citizens have attended. So the presentation at 4 p.m., in the Wood County District Public Library meeting room, 251 N. Main St., is intended to seek out public opinion on the project. “We would like the public’s response to these proposals,” Callecod said. “We want to make it clear that nothing is in stone at this point.” The two final design options will remain on display in the library until July 27, so people can continue to study and comment on them. Also, starting July 19, a link will be active on the city’s website (www.bgohio.org) for citizens to use to offer input. Both of the two final design options for the 1.2-acre green space where the old junior high used to sit include three features. There will be a stone arched entry at the corner of West Wooster and South Church streets. There will be a 20 by 30 foot octagon shaped pavilion for performances or gatherings. And there will be a display area for public art – possibly a sculpture. Beyond that, the two plans are quite different, with one being symmetrical, with walkways creating an “X” in the green space. The other design has more meandering walkways that curve across the green. The plans will be presented Wednesday by…


Wooster Green designs to get public review in July

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The steering committee has batted around all kinds of ideas for Wooster Green – so soon it will be the public’s chance to weigh in. Three features of the 1.2-acre green space where the old junior high used to sit are not up for debate. There will be a stone arched entry at the corner of West Wooster and South Church streets. There will be a 20 by 30 foot octagon shaped pavilion for performances or gatherings. And there will be a display area for public art – possibly a sculpture. Based on public comment and input from the steering committee, some changes to the plans have already been implemented. The site will have less concrete than originally planned. “That was a clear cut message that came from the last meeting,” said Troy Sonner, with Poggemeyer Design Group. The firm is doing the Wooster Green design space for free as part the business’ 50th anniversary gift to the community. During Thursday’s steering committee meeting, there was spirited debate over the four possible designs presented. The goal of the group was to narrow it down to two designs that will be presented to the public for input. After some deliberation, the committee decided on one design that is more symmetrical, with walkways creating an “X” in the green space. The other design had more meandering walkways that curved across the green. “Here’s the kicker,” said Lori Young, co-chair of the design committee. “We’ve got one shot to design this space so it’s usable.” The steering committee logged concerns about: Having enough space for people gathering for events at the pavilion. There will be no constructed seating, people will be expected to bring chairs and blankets for sitting on. Though some members preferred curving walkways rather than straight lines, others were worried about people creating their own straight paths through the grass. “People will take the shortest cut,” Young…


BG fine tunes three design options for Wooster Green

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green’s downtown green space is taking shape. The question now is whether it should be a formal symmetrical shape or an informal meandering shape. Some pieces of the puzzle are definite – like the stone arched entry, the pavilion, and a gathering area. But just where those pieces fit on the 1.7 acres at West Wooster and South Church streets is still unknown. On Thursday, Troy Sonner, of Poggemeyer Design Group, presented three possible designs for the town square dubbed Wooster Green. The firm is donating its design services to the community in recognition of the business’ 50th anniversary. “We are one step away from a blank canvas,” Sonner said to members of the green space steering committee. The first design was modeled after the ideas of the Green Space Task Force. It includes wide walkways from corner to corner, creating a symmetrical “X” shape with a center area featuring a fountain or statue. The pavilion would be located toward the south of the site. This plan has the most concrete. The second design was submitted by a city resident, and features an open area close to Wooster, a winding walkway, and the pavilion toward the southwest portion of the square. This plan leaves larger open spaces and has less concrete. The third design is a combination of ideas from the task force and the citizen’s plan. It features the pavilion closer to Church Street, has a winding walkway, and much more open space toward the center and south of the square. This plan has the least concrete. Mayor Dick Edwards pointed out that some citizens expressed concerns about the loss of too much green space in the original plan for the square. “We’ve tried to back off,” he said. Steering committee member Michael Penrod said he preferred the more formal look of the symmetrical plan, but he also liked the idea of less of the…


Citizens can email ideas for downtown green space

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Despite several public meetings about the new downtown green space in Bowling Green, many citizens complained that they weren’t given an opportunity to express their desires for the proposed town square. To remedy that perceived slight, an email account has now been set up to take suggestions. Anyone wanting to submit ideas for the 1.7 acres at the corner of West Wooster and South Church streets can now email their suggestions to woostergreendesign@gmail.com. Mayor Dick Edwards said he spoke recently with representatives at Poggemeyer Design Group about the two main elements already planned for the town square – an arched entryway and a pavilion. The exact designs are still being worked on, but will consider the historic character of the area, and will work to preserve as much green as possible.  Other necessities include bike racks, drinking fountains, benches, sidewalk lighting and trash receptacles. There are many other decisions under consideration that will be needed to turn the site into Wooster Green – a town square for the Bowling Green community. First, what are the protocols for using the site? Second, how can at least $300,000 in donations be raised for the space? And third, how can the entire community be engaged in the project? The steering committee for Wooster Green met Thursday afternoon to make progress on those considerations. “We definitely need clarification on when and how the site can be used,” said Bob Callecod, co-chair of the promotions committee. The green space has already been used for several public rallies, and the steering committee envisions it being used in the future for events like Friday afterwork gatherings, concerts, perhaps farmers’ markets or flower shows. But decisions must be made on whether the space can be used for such events as weddings, the mayor said. “A site like this has tremendous potential for the businesses,” Callecod said. The mayor suggested that other communities with similar sites…