Council authorizes pickleball ordinance


Bowling Green City Council is considering legislation that would help further the creation of pickleball courts in the city.

On Monday, council introduced an ordinance that would authorize Municipal Administrator Lori Tretter to seek qualifications, advertise for bids, and enter into contracts for the construction of the courts.

According to the legislative package document, the proposed project consists of the design and construction of a six pickleball court facility to be located at the Bowling Green Community Center. The project includes fencing, lighting, spectator seating, a drinking fountain, and various site improvements.

This project has been championed by the BG Parks and Recreation Foundation and a dedicated forum of local pickleball enthusiasts who have raised over $100,000 to see the project come to fruition. Detailed design of the project will occur in 2024 with construction anticipated in 2025.

In 2022, council designated $150,000 in American Rescue Plan Act funds for the project.

In other business, council:

• Introduced an ordinance authoring Utilities Director Brian O’Connell to enter into a contract for the painting of decorative poles in the downtown area, which were last painted in 2013. The poles are located between Ridge Street and Ordway Avenue, and Church Street and Prospect Street. A sum of $100,000 was set aside for the project in the 2024 budget.

• Introduced an ordinance authoring O’Connell to enter into contracts for an Electric Distribution Study. The legislative package document notes that the 2024 Electric Capital Reserve Fund budget allocates up to $5.6 million for critical updates to substations, distribution systems, and transmission lines.

These updates are driven by several factors, including the Abbott project, expanding business areas north and east of the city, and the need to replace or repair aging infrastructure. The cost of the study is estimated at around $100,000.

• Witnessed Wood County Parks Director Chris Smalley present the city with a check for $2,806 for a local park improvement grant which was applied for by the Bowling Green Parks and Recreation Department.

• Heard from resident Matt Sayer, who raised the issue of speeding cars on West Gypsy Lane Road. He suggested that two speed cameras be installed in the area.

“That would generate income for the city, leave police freed up for more important things and keep order on the road,” he said.

Resident Sherry Potocnak also raised concerns about speeding in that area.

“I don’t have a good solution,” she said, “but I’m afraid one day there’s going to be a fatal accident there.”

Later in the meeting, council President Mark Hollenbaugh asked city attorney Hunter Brown if traffic speed cameras were legal in Ohio. Brown said he advised against using them.

“Toledo just lost a big suit with regards to them,” he said.

• Went into a 32-minute executive session for the purpose of discussing union negotiations. Later in the evening, council unanimously passed ordinances allowing Tretter to sign contracts with the Bowling Green Employees Organization and the Bowling Green Police Patrolman’s Association.

• Held a more than 20-minute, and frequently technical, discussion on an ordinance proposed by Herald that would alter some of council’s rules regarding the handling of legislation. Specifically, the ordinance would have allowed for discussion to take place on motions to suspend council’s rules, and allowed legislation to be retabled – both are currently not permitted under council’s parliamentary procedure, which comes from Robert’s Rules of Order.

“I feel like the system under which we’ve been working is working,” said Hollenbaugh. “I just feel this is unnecessary.”

The tools we’re seeking are already in existence in Robert’s Rules of Order, said Councilman Greg Robinette.

The ordinance ultimately failed by a vote of 1-6, with Herald as the only “yes” vote.

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