‘So much local government in these walls’: BG says goodbye to building


By Peter Kuebeck

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City of Bowling Green officials and members of the administration bid a fond farewell to the current City Administration Building during council’s June 29 meeting.

“This is the last council meeting that will occur in these chambers,” said Mayor Mike Aspacher. The city will be transitioning to the new municipal building, which has been constructed just next door.

Aspacher noted that the building, at 304 N. Church St., was constructed during 1901 and 1902, and was used as the Church Street Elementary School from 1902-56, when it was used as a library. It has served as the city’s administration building since 1976, approximately 47 years.

“It is my opinion that the community has gotten its money’s worth out of this building,” said Aspacher. “I’m excited for the city to move into the building across the parking lot later next month and we’ll look forward to conducting … the first council meeting in those chambers in August.”

Aspacher noted historical facts from 1976, when council first held its meeting in the structure: the United States celebrated its bicentennial, Gerald Ford was president, the unemployment rate was 7.8%, and inflation was 5.76%. The average family income was $16,000 a year, he said, homes cost an average of $43,000 and minimum wage was $2.30. Alvie Perkins was mayor of Bowling Green.

Municipal Administrator Lori Tretter said she had reflected on the service conducted within the council chamber over those 47 years. She said that the first council meeting in 1976 started at 8 p.m., and began with resolution 2,147 – the most recent of council’s resolutions was 3,847, she said. Council’s first ordinance at that 1976 meeting was numbered ,; during the June 29 council meeting, council introduced Ordinance 9,115.

“We are, of course, very much looking forward to the opportunities” awaiting the city at the new space, Tretter said. But she noted that “thousands of public meeting have occurred in this space,” with well over 1,000 council meetings, as well as the meetings of various other boards and commissions.

“So many of our residents have participated in local government in these walls,” she said. “I think local government has one of the most direct impacts on the daily lives of the people that live here.

“How we do our work has evolved significantly, but one thing that hasn’t changed is the people are the heart of our local government. … Fairness, accountability, responsibility, consistency, these are core tenets of running a respectable and reliable local government organization,” Tretter said. “I’m looking forward to our next chapter in our organization.”

Councilman Bill Herald noted that of the nearly five decades of council meetings held in the building, he has attended “almost 60% of the council meetings in this room,” either as a member of council or as a member of the audience.

“I really hope you all appreciate that this city is well run and has been for decades. Somehow we attract very talented people to serve in the administration,” Herald said. “It is a source of pride, I think. In all of the thousands of meetings … one of the additional strengths we have as a city is our citizens.

“We have it very good here,” he continued. “So I’m kind of nostalgic about it.”

He said it is time to say goodbye to 304 N. Church St. “and move on, and I am just very grateful to have been part of this process over the decades.”

The city offices will be closed July 14 and July 17 to accommodate the move to the new building. Offices will reopen July 18.

Members of the public are invited to a “sneak peek” of the new city building on Wednesday from 3-6 p.m.

Tretter said that a ribbon cutting for the new building is planned when final work has been completed.

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