Even as the coronavirus continues to impact the workings of the city, Mayor Michael Aspacher is focusing on what needs to be done to move forward.
Aspacher addressed members of the Bowling Green Exchange Club Tuesday during a Zoom meeting of the club.
“We cannot allow COVID and its impacts to paralyze the city,” he said. “We need to be mindful of what our ongoing responsibilities are in terms of investment in the community, investment in infrastructure, and we need to take advantage of opportunities that will present themselves.”
Projects are fluid and changing, “but one thing that won’t change is our commitment to doing these things that fall within our responsibility to move our community forward.”
2021 will be a busy year as investments continue in infrastructure.
The public utilities division has a large number of infrastructure repairs planned and will continue its investment in water and sewer lines and treatment plants.
A number of paving projects also are planned, including:
• South Church Street from Pearl Street to Sand Ridge Road, with new sidewalks, curbs and ADA ramps
• Thurstin Avenue from East Wooster Street through the Court Street intersection, extending out to Poe Road
• The Coventry, Devonshire and Cobblestone neighborhoods
• The intersection of West Gypsy Lane and Sand Ridge roads
• East Wooster Street from Campbell Hill Road west to the railroad tracks
“All of these are significant projects. It’s an ongoing need and an ongoing responsibility for us to continue to invest in that,” Aspacher said.
Preliminary work will start on West Wooster Street for the replacement of underground utilities from Grove Street to Haskins Road, then north on Haskins to Poe.
Exchange Club member Maria Simon asked, with the paving projects, will bike lanes be added, especially on Grove Street so students are able to ride their bikes to school and the library. Simon is youth services coordinator at the Wood County District Public Library.
Each paving project will use city council’s ordinance on the implementation of complete street concepts whenever possible, Aspacher said.
“The short answer is yes, we consider (that) in each one of our paving projects and again, the commitment is that we all recognized the streets are created to move people whether they are in cars, on foot or on bike,” he said.
But cost most definitely will be an issue, Aspacher added.
Those projects will be followed by a paving project in 2022 that will include that whole stretch of West Wooster and Haskins. While it will be an inconvenience, Aspacher said it will be a beneficial project.
The next round of improvements on East Wooster will be in 2023 with the new roundabout at Campbell Hill Road.
In 2024, there will be significant road improvements on South Main Street from Ordway Avenue to the corporate limits. Improvements also will be made to the intersection of South Main and Napoleon Road.
Additional improvements within the city will include a redesign of the city’s website and a comprehensive update to the zoning code.
“It’s been generations since we have done a systematic comprehensive update to our zoning code. It’s overdue,” Aspacher said.
This is important in order to create an environment that is conducive to investment, he said.
Commercial, residential and industrial areas all will be looked at to determine how to enable more mixed-use developments in neighborhoods.
Exchange Club member Clif Boutelle asked about a notice he received from Columbia Gas doing a project on Ranch Court and Haskins.
Aspacher said he didn’t know the specifics of the project but believed this is a continuation by the company to upgrade medium and low pressure piping.
“It’s critically important,” he said. “A lot of the gas lines in Bowling Green are 50 or 60 years old.”