BG praised for Ridge park plans PDF Print E-mail
Written by HAROLD BROWN Sentinel City Editor   
Wednesday, 23 October 2013 10:07
Bowling Green City Council heard praise from several residents Monday night about its decision to purchase the Ridge Elementary property and a suggestion to hold off demolition of the building to explore possible uses.
Another resident urged council to be fiscally prudent and suggested the city think about selling former school properties on West Wooster Street and South Grove Street to pay for purchases of land around the Community Center and the Ridge property.
Council spent several minutes discussing delaying demolition but came to a consensus that the original plan should be followed.
First Ward resident Neocles Leontis supported the purchase and suggested the building be repurposed and used as a free community center that children could easily reach. "There could be after school parties, things like 3-D printers. Retirees could share their knowledge. We need to use our imaginations. If we have real community action we will find the money," Leontis said.
At-Large Council Member Bob McOmber wondered if council was ready to go ahead with demolition. He, along with Mayor Richard Edwards, Council President John Zanfardino and At-Large member Bruce Jeffers toured the building last week.
First Ward Council Member Daniel Gordon, who pushed for the purchase, said the decision had already been made to demolish. "There is no reason to delay." Third Ward rep Michael Aspacher and Fourth Ward rep Rob Piasecki saw no reason to delay.
Jeffers said the building was in better shape than he expected but lacking a clear plan to keep it viable, there was no need to delay.
"Going through the building I could not help but be impressed. It is well-maintained and has good infrastructure. I'd like to see a plan for its use," Edwards said.
Fourth Ward resident Jaci Nowicki told council she has become "very concerned about spending in the city and the size of government. I want to feel like we are fiscally strong." She suggested selling the near downtown former school sites to private concerns for development. She said the sale would help finance the other land purchases.
"Thank you for your wonderful work for green space," Clayton Rosati, who lives adjacent to the school, said. "Bravo to council. This makes a difference in the quality of life."
Another school neighbor, Jeff Howes, echoed Rosati and added that the purchase will keep space already used by the community available for many activities.
Les Barber, who lives a block away, said he was speaking on behalf of 22 others in the neighborhood who were unable to attend. "Thank you for your decision to buy Ridge School for park land. It is a good move for the city."

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