Groundbreaking set for new park building


With work progressing at the site, the groundbreaking for the new building at City Park is set for next
“Things are moving along,” said Parks and Recreation Director Kristin Otley during Tuesday’s Parks and
Recreation Board meeting. “We’re pretty much on the timeline to keep the architect happy. But obviously
the rain last week and over the weekend has delayed things a little bit. But things are proceeding
The groundbreaking for the new building, to be officially named the Bowling Green, Ohio Veterans Memorial
Building, has been set for Tuesday, May 14 at 1:30 p.m.
The building will replace the former Veterans and Girl Scout buildings, which have been demolished.
Board Chair Jeff Crawford asked Otley if the completion of the facility was still on track for January
2020. Otley said “early 2020” would be better.
“We’re still pretty much on the timeline the architect set, which was a pretty aggressive timeline,” she
Otley also announced Tuesday that a project nearly four years in the making at the Community Center was
finally finished – a paved trail leading from behind the structure to the athletic fields. She said the
first meeting for that project was held in October of 2015, and the paving of the trail was finished on
“So, we have finished that project,” she said. “So, things do happen. They do happen, we had to plan, and
we had to put aside the money and we had to get it done.”
The trail, she said, will make it easier for people with strollers or mobility issues to get to the
fields, but there’s another benefit as well. Otley said that twice in the 13-year life of the Community
Center, Newton Road has flooded to such an extent that the center has had to close.
“If that were to happen again, the trail is actually wide enough that we could open that up as an
emergency entrance and exit,” said Otley. “There’s all kinds of rationales for putting that in.”
In other business, the board:
• Heard from Natural Resources Coordinator Chris Gajewicz that they are exploring the possibility of
transforming the front drive-in portion of Wintergarden/St. John’s Nature Preserve into a wetland.
Gajewicz provided a recent aerial photograph taken by a drone which showed the large amount of water left
in the front of the park after recent rains.
“It’s trying to tell us it wants to be a wetland,” he said, noting “we have been fighting it for probably
the last 50 or so years.”
Gajewicz said they are putting together potential plans and working with Bowling Green State University
on crafting an environmental impact statement.
“This is like a really big thing, to turn it back into what it wants to be, so we’re sort of on the
cutting edge of that.”
“I think that’s really exciting,” said Crawford. “If we could have a wetland out there it would be really
• Also heard from Gajewicz that Wintergarden is getting a lot of attention on social media as a prime
spot for birders during the spring migration, and that people from all over the region and the state are
coming to view birds at the park, some of them with specialized equipment.
“You will see binoculars and really big cameras” out in the park, he said.
• Heard from Recreation Coordinator Ivan Kovacevic that pass sales to date at the Community Center are up
over first-quarter 2018 sales. Additionally, MindBody fitness classes “are performing about $7,000 above
where we were the same time last year.” The program allows attendees to try available classes for a fee
which covers all of them.
“They’ve done some creative promotions and different things to get people excited about it, and it’s
definitely working,” said Kovacevic.

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