BG mulls Ridge lot's future
Written by HAROLD BROWN, Sentinel City Editor
Tuesday, 25 February 2014 11:28
Three dozen people spent about 45 minutes Monday night sharing ideas and submitting written comments about how Bowling Green’s Department of Parks and Recreation should use the former Ridge Elementary property.
|File photo. Former Ridge Elementary property.
The three-acre property will represent the first public green space in the city’s First Ward, following demolition of the school building this spring. The city acquired the property from the BG Board of Education last fall, following closure of the school last May.
Director of Parks and Recreation Dr. Michelle Grigore said she will continue to accept written comments through March 24. “At that point I will prepare a report based on the comments and submit it to Municipal Administrator John Fawcett,” she said. Copies of the document will also be provided to all who left an email address Monday night and those who submit written comments.
Comments may be emailed to
or dropped off at the Community Center, 1245 W. Newton Road.
Grigore said based on federal safety standards for playground equipment it has been determined the funnel ball site and basketball hoop can remain, while other playground equipment will have to be removed. The stone gravel track at the north end of the playground needs regrading, if it is retained.
“What is the best use? How do you want to see this area used?” Grigore asked.
In receipt of 11 emails with comments before the meeting, Grigore listed as suggestions a desire to keep the track; add trees, benches, playgrounds and public gardens, leaving the parking as it is; develop a natural area; and add soccer goals, an
open field for play, a permanent farmers market, a dog park, an improved basketball court, and a free library.
Grigore said it will be a challenge to find funds to pay for new playground equipment or other items that may be desired in the final plan.
“Bowling Green finds a way to get things done. We have been able to get grants and raise funds. The community has stepped forward,” Grigore said.
Chris Gajewicz, natural resource coordinator for the parks and recreation department, said the property has been the site of a school since the 1850s. The existing structure was opened in 1934. The city’s first cemetery existed on three lots immediately east of the school property along Ridge Street but was closed and moved in 1898.
After purchasing the property BG City Council dedicated the western 20 feet as an alley so that residents of Prospect Street could continue to have access to garages at the rear of their properties.
Also suggested Monday night:
• Small public garden plots for people to grow food.
• A meeting area, perhaps with a gazebo.
• Planting fruit trees.
• Exploring ways to gain more income from leased land such as the BG Country Club and Pee Wee League at Carter Park and athletic fields being developed at the Community Center.
• Save all the trees and plant more trees.
• Make sure any playground equipment is sturdy.
• Keep playground area to a minimum.
• Be aware of changing demographics.
• Should not be a city park but a neighborhood park.
• Don’t reinvent the wheel. The property has served a variety of needs for years and years.
• Keep the fencing and backstop
• There are lots of children in the neighborhood. One person said now that children are bused to Crim Elementary they become aware of the number of children in the neighborhood.
• There are grandparents in the neighborhood who want to be able to tell the grandkids to “go play at the school.”
• Find a way to make sure nearby rental tenants are not using the parking lot. Enforce a 24-hour parking rule.
• More trash has been noticed since the school closed.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 25 February 2014 11:31