Wood County Senior Center 2020

Bowling Green’s Historic Preservation Commission is hoping to designate some venerable city structures as historic buildings.

The discussion during Tuesday’s meeting focused on the current police division building, Needle Hall at City Park, and the facade of the former Wood County Senior Center Building, which previously served as the city’s post office.

HPC Secretary Les Barber asked Mayor Mike Aspacher, who attended the meeting, about the city’s interest in local historic designations for buildings in the city which are currently listed on the national historic register, as well as the police building.

Aspacher said that conceptually the city is supportive of such a process for Needle Hall and the police division, and that there had been extensive discussion about the post office facade. He said that with Needle Hall and the police division “I see no reason why we would delay from the city’s perspective.”

The idea of the post office, however, is complicated because its facade is to be incorporated into plans for a new city building. Aspacher said they would need to consider the final design and restoration processes being developed for the facade.

“I think that in terms of proceeding with that designation for that facility, I think it would be advisable to let the design be completed because, as part of that process,” they will be identifying the scope of work and methods of restoration for the facade, Aspacher said.

HPC Chair John Sampen discussed the process for local historic designations, which, after completing a building inventory, would also include a public hearing, and a review from the planning commission, and eventually a recommendation to council. The HPC would also conduct a written survey.

The HPC members agreed to do individual research on the police division and Needle Hall prior to their next meeting, which will be collated by Sampen, as part of the inventory process.

Sampen also reported that he and vice chair Will Roudebush will be meeting with Bowling Green State University President Rodney Rogers and Vice President for Planning and Construction April Smucker on Dec. 1 to discuss potential local historic designations for some of the campus buildings. Aspacher may also attend. Aspacher said he’d spoken about such a concept previously with Rodgers.

The commission also heard that, at present, there is no further update on the proposal submitted to the Wood County Commissioners to recognize the Wood County Courthouse locally as a historic building. The matter is currently with the Wood County Prosecutor’s Office and Sampen said, due to that office’s workload, it could be some time before there is a response.

The commission members further viewed a map of properties, which were divided into pre-1925 or post-1925 categories, prepared by Mowen, as a potential concept for a historic overlay district. Sampen noted that in considering a historic overlay district, the commission is also still looking at their options in terms of whether, and how, they could use the Boomtown district, which is listed on the national registry, as a starting point.

“We’re wrestling with the concept of should we expand, should we start with that, should be make it smaller? So, still in the discussion stages,” he said. The group also discussed the idea of districts which could take into account historic eras or particular factors that influenced the city historically. Sampen noted the idea, discussed during their last meeting, of including the Boomtown and Main Street areas together in a first district.

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