To the Editor:

2021 has been a year of forward momentum following the impacts of the pandemic. As a community, we have continued to successfully react and adapt to the ever-changing environment. Our community has responded with determination, and dedicated city employees have continued to maintain the exceptional services we expect. As we look back, it’s important to celebrate our successes.

Outfitting our police officers with body cameras has long been a goal and this past year it became a reality.

Plans have been put into motion to utilize federal funds to address projects such as paving over 30 miles of residential roads.

The city redesigned the website to better communicate and be more responsive to modern technology. A food waste compost program was established to increase waste diversion efforts.

Parks and recreation continued to enhance and build upon the city’s green spaces. Thanks to a partnership with the Black Swamp Nature Preserve, there was a 20-acre addition to Wintergarden/St. John’s Nature Preserve, extending the existing trail network. A portion of the preserve is being restored to native short grass prairie.

The city was recognized by the American Public Power Association as a Diamond Level Reliable Public Power Provider and a Smart Energy Provider. The fire division received the Lifeline EMS Gold Plus Achievement Award from the American Heart Association. The city was also recognized as a Certified Local Government by the Historic Heritage & Historic Preservation – NPS. Bowling Green became a Purple Heart City.

I am optimistic about what 2022 will bring and excited about the opportunities.

The zoning code will be updated and modernized, which hasn’t occurred in 50 years. I am excited about exploring new and innovative economic development initiatives and ways to attract amenities, housing development and workforce development opportunities. Following community input, the use of the rest of the American Rescue Act funds will be finalized.

I am excited to be working on a new city building. Our community needs a modern facility to support and serve the public. City Hall should be a source of pride and fully accessible.

2020 and 2021 reinforced that Bowling Green will persevere regardless of the circumstances. We will identify and maximize opportunities, we won’t shy away from difficult discussions, and we will maintain forward momentum.

Do all you can to stay safe and healthy, and let’s look forward to 2022.

Michael Aspacher

Bowling Green mayor