Five more parklets will open for outdoor dining in downtown Bowling Green this spring.
The new parklets will be installed in May, in front of SamB’s, Flatlands Coffee, Finders Records, Grounds for Thought coffee roasting and Cycle Werks, according to Tony Vetter, executive director of the Downtown Bowling Green Special Improvement District.
Vetter spoke about the parklets and new “artlets” at Thursday’s Bowling Green Rotary Club meeting, held at Bowling Green Country Club.
The five new ones will join the three installed last year at Juniper, Grounds for Thought (the cafe and bookstore) and Kabob-It.
The new ones will have some changes to their look, Vetter said. They will be more visible, with LED solar-powered lighting added to the parklets, as well as colored stain.
The new parklets are being funded through a T-Mobile $50,000 hometown grant that was announced in September.
The outdoor dining areas extend seating into the parallel parking areas in front of downtown businesses.
The newest concept is an artlet, being built by Bowling Green State University students. It will feature a fountain, Vetter said.
He also unveiled a new banner that will hang along Main Street. They are full color and made of heavy-duty, commercial grade, double-sided banners. They also had to create special brackets for the lamp posts that could accommodate the wreaths and banners.
The Downtown Bowling Green Special Improvement District decided an upgrade was needed to the downtown decorations and aimed for collecting $88,000 in donations to cover the project. In the first two months of the project $45,000 had already been collected from private sources.
“There’s going to be wreaths, there’s going to be banners, like I showed today, and there’s also going to be what’s called spray. Because some of the light posts have two lights on them and it’s really hard to get a wreath around two lights. A spray is like a wreath, but it’s a triangle that goes between with a big bow,” Vetter said.
The Alleyway Project announced by Mayor Mike Aspacher is moving ahead, he said.
“Those are some of the most boring spaces we have downtown. You just walk through them,” Vetter said. “We’re going to make that whole alleyway by Finders, and make it a destination.”
The city will fund the project with American Rescue Plan Act funds, he said.
The alleys will incorporate pergolas, with an artistic flare.
The locations will be near: Finders Records, Lola’s Frozen Yogurt, Reverend’s Bar and Grill and Easy Street Cafe.
Vetter talked about the district’s efforts to make the downtown the cultural, historic and business heart of the city.
Art Walk is set for May 14.
Vetter said that the projects that were started pre-pandemic with the plastic flamingos, three years ago, would be raffled off.
He added that maps for the art would be available, along with the flamingo preview, at the Wood County District Public Library.
Downtown Live music events, which were meant to encourage people to get outside, is going to be discontinued.
“We found out a few things. We found out that doing it every Friday and Saturday probably wasn’t the best way to spend our money. We feel we will get the best attendance when we pay for bigger bands. Those will have larger followings,” Vetter said.
The Firefly Nights will be coming back. Vetter said that the popular events will be held June 17, July 15 and Aug. 19, which is the third Friday of the month, from 6-10 p.m.
“It is family oriented, so bring your kids,” Vetter said.