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The City of Bowling Green Special Olympics “Toppers” Flag Football team (comprised of 8 Bowling Green athletes and 2 Russellville athletes) recently competed in the 2018 USA Special Olympics Games in Seattle, WA.  They finished the tournament with five wins and one loss and received the Bronze medal. The Toppers won the gold medal in their division of the 2016 State Flag Football Tournament last November to qualify.

They are the only team from Kentucky to ever receive a medal in flag football on a national level. Opening ceremonies took place on July 1st and closing ceremonies took place on July 7th.

Flag football is a version of American football where the basic rules of the game are similar to those of the mainstream game, but instead of tackling players to the ground, the defensive team must remove a flag or flag belt from the ball carrier (“deflagging”) to end a down, and contact is not permitted between players which will result in a penalty for the team that initiates it.

The team was led by head coach Holly Vincent, of Bowling Green. Vincent has been a Special Olympics coach for two years and has coached flag football at various levels for three years. As the Special Populations Director for Bowling Green Parks and Recreation, Vincent heads up the Special Olympics program for the City and she also coaches softball, basketball, bowling and track. This was her first time coaching at the USA or World Games level.

Assistant Coach Michael Justice, of Bowling Green also attended the games. Justice is a Bowling Green Parks and Recreation employee and is in his third year coaching Special Olympics athletes. He has coached flag football for three seasons in addition to basketball, bowling, softball and track and field.

Congratulations to these fabulous athletes and their coaches!

Keep on Keeping it Clean….

‘Keep It Clean Bowling Green’ has been a part of our City since approximately 2003. The City uses the slogan and campaign for both stormwater and litter education and outreach.   Over the last 15 years we have reached out to children with Stanley the Trash Can and Tommy the Turtle, visited schools with our stormwater program, hosted multiple clean-ups throughout the City, partnered with various nonprofits and outreach programs, attended countless events, created multiple commercials and PSAs, and so much more.

Bowling Green faces unique challenges with respect to stormwater management. Warren County is located in a karst region that is typified by caves, sinkholes, springs, underground streams and other karst features. The Bowling Green and Warren County area has very few surface streams and rivers. This karst region that we live in makes keeping Bowling Green Clean even more important. Oils from cars, harsh chemicals, animal waste and contaminated dirt from constructions sites can all contribute to our stormwater difficulties.

The ultimate goal is to reduce the impact stormwater has on our local receiving streams, namely Barren River and Drakes Creek. Drakes Creeks drains to the Barren River, which is the sole source of our drinking water.

Beyond stormwater, our City departments, especially Parks and Recreation, work hard to keep our parks and common areas clean of trash and litter. All public places in the City are equipped with trash cans or recycling bins that are emptied on a regular basis. We hope that residents and visitors alike take the time to place their waste in a provided trash can. When we all do a little, we can do a lot to keep it clean in Bowling Green.

We’ve been keeping it clean since 2003! We hope that everyone will work together with us to continue to keep the City looking beautiful.

2018 Fireworks!

Many things come to mind when thinking about the 4th of July: freedom, summer, BBQ’s, pool parties and of course, fireworks!

 

There are those who love fireworks and those who loathe them. To help make sure that everyone has a great 4th of July holiday, the City of Bowling Green has offered some good neighbor courtesies as well as some safety guideline and regulations to keep in mind for the 2018 season.

Because not everyone is excited about the loud bangs and bright lights, notify your neighbors before using any large fireworks near your home and never put other people or their property at risk.

Fireworks are NOT permitted on public streets, and any debris left by fireworks should be picked up and disposed of properly. Never point or throw fireworks at another person, and always keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of a fire or other mishap. Consumer fireworks may only be used by individuals at least 18 years of age.

The city DOES NOT require a permit to discharge fireworks from June 27th through July 5th from noon until 10 p.m., and on July 4th from noon until 11 p.m. All other dates require a Special Fireworks Discharge Permit from the Bowling Green Fire Department.

Keep in mind that enforcement of firework guidelines is a complaint driven process. Please call the Bowling Green Police Department non-emergency line at 270-393-4244 to file a complaint regarding fireworks. For more safety guidelines or to obtain a Special Fireworks Discharge Permit, contact the Bowling Green Fire Department at 270-393-3702, or visit their website at www.bgky.org/fire.

For all fireworks details and ordinance information, visit http://www.bgky.org/policies/firework-ordinance.

Most importantly, have a safe and Happy 4th of July!

When warm weather settles in, people in my neighborhood get outdoors for walks around the block, brats and burgers on the grill, and even some front porch sitting. I like that my neighbors know who my kids are and that I can always count on them to keep an eye out on our place when we head out for a weekend away. (And we do the same for them.)

I hope you enjoy great neighbors where you live, but did you know that the City of Bowling Green offers many ways to help residents make their neighborhoods great places to live and make memories? Whether it’s organizing a block party to bring neighbors together or planning an improvement project to spruce up the neighborhood’s appearance, it’s my job as Neighborhood Services Coordinator to provide neighbors and neighborhood groups with technical advice, materials, and even a little cash (through SNAP) to help make it happen.

Select Neighborhood Action Program (SNAP) grants can provide funds to your neighborhood group to do projects of your choosing. The grants are just for neighborhoods in the City of Bowling Green, and the deadline for grant applications for this year’s SNAP grant cycle is 4:00 p.m. on July 13. The application and guidelines are posted online at: http://www2.bgky.org/neighborhoods/nhgrants.php#snapforms and training is required.

What kinds of projects will SNAP fund?  Here’s just a few examples:

With some sweat equity, passing the hat, and obtaining SNAP grants, the Crestmoor Neighborhood has made their entry median off Nashville Road truly beautiful with landscaping, decorative rock, and lighting.

Hillview Mills Homeowners Association has added a gazebo and decorative signposts in their subdivision, and neighbors have added curbing in many areas of Bent Tree to keep vehicles in the street and off of yards.

SNAP Grants also helped to create an outdoor nature classroom at Parker Bennett Curry Elementary School:  a project that is one of several neighborhood-school partnerships that has helped to add new playground equipment and landscaping at area schools.

Neighbors in the Crossings at Cave Mill were able to give a fresh coat of paint to some plank fencing, and the historic Shake Rag community is commemorated with a Kentucky Heritage Council historic sign located at 2nd and State Street:  both because of SNAP.

Don’t let your neighborhood miss out on SNAP or one of our other great neighborhood programs! For more information, give me a shout at 270.393.3674 or shoot me an email at: karen.foley@bgky.org.

The Fiscal Year 2018/2019 budget has been approved by the Board of Commissioners and there are some great Capital Improvement projects (CIPs) coming up.  CIPS include but aren’t limited to: land or easement purchases, building improvements or construction, infrastructure such as streets, drainage, curb and gutter, etc., parks are recreation facilities improvements, and equipment purchases over $5,000 in cost.

Read on to learn about some of our biggest and top priorities for the upcoming Fiscal Year.

Improving Traffic Flow.  Progress continues on the Smallhouse Road corridor improvement project Phase II to extend from the intersections of Highland Way to Ridgecrest Way. The budget includes the third year of funding for Phase II in the amount of $1.2 million, which is the estimated amount necessary to complete the project. The budget also includes funding to address deficiencies in the Smallhouse Road turn lanes on the south side of the intersection with Campbell Lane.  When completed, nearly $7.0 million of the City’s local tax dollars will have been invested over the past seven years to improve Smallhouse Road from Cave Mill Road to Ridgecrest Way.

With Bowling Green’s continuous growth as a regional hub putting pressure on area roadways, two proposed capital projects recommended in this budget will improve traffic flow at high-volume locations. First, the widening of Shive Lane between Scottsville Road and Ken Bale Boulevard is planned with the inclusion of a roundabout at the intersection with Ken Bale. In addition, the budget includes traffic signal installation and turn lane enhancements at the Dishman Lane/Industrial Drive intersection. Funding for two other residential roundabouts is proposed to address traffic flow at the intersections of Parkside Drive and Cove Drive as well as Cove Drive, Woodway Street, and N. Sunrise Drive. With these additional road projects, the City is proposing to invest over $1.6 million more in FY2019 to improve traffic flow and further enhance vehicular movements around town.

Sustaining Aggressive Overlay Program. The FY2019 budget proposes to maintain the annual street resurfacing (overlay) project through the direct allocation of up to $2 million using both Liquid Fuel Tax (LFT) and General Fund monies, which would resurface approximately 23 miles of roadway. As the Public Works Department continues to address the quality of road surface conditions throughout the city, the total paving/resurfacing budget remains at approximately 147% over past fiscal years, from a low of $811,000 in FY2011.

Thriving Downtown.  The revitalization of the centerpiece of downtown Bowling Green, Fountain Square Park, and the implementation of a continuous, cohesive and consistent wayfinding system to improve the navigation of visitors to the downtown area and throughout Bowling Green were completed during FY2018. The City now turns its focus toward revitalizing downtown by creating safer pedestrian walkways, improving streets and alleyways, and developing an inviting connection between Fountain Square and Circus Square parks. Funding for this phased project began in late FY2016. The FY2019 budget includes almost $1.3 million for a total of over $3.2 million, to provide funding for the Downtown Streetscape Improvements project to begin construction later this fall. The first phase of the project comprises improvements surrounding the downtown square, addressing both Capital and Morris alleys, and enhancing the connection between Fountain Square and Circus Square parks. The next phase will enhance the streetscapes of College and State Streets from 7th Avenue to 10th Avenue including a designated bike lane.

Enhancing Community Walk-ability.  The FY2019 budget proposes to continue funding $500,000 for new sidewalk projects to create a more walkable city, a top priority of the Board of Commissioners. The City has invested over $6.4 million in new sidewalks since the inception of this program in 2008, with 15.1 miles of new sidewalk constructed or pending. This equates to an average of approximately 1.5 miles of new sidewalk being constructed each year. As traditionally done, this budget also provides funding for improvements to existing sidewalks, including the addition of ADA-compliant ramps. As previously mentioned, the Neighborhood Improvement Program for Census Tract 112 also includes the construction of 3,500 feet of new sidewalks on Lee Drive, Crewdson Drive, Old Barren River Road, N. Sunrise Drive and Woodway Street funded by CDBG.

Continuing Focus on Stormwater Mitigation.  This budget reinforces the efforts that began in 2010 to address stormwater problem-areas throughout the city, which is also considered a top priority. A total of 60 projects were identified at the onset of this program with 39 remaining, and 11 projects have been completed and one is pending construction, as others have since been added to the list.  Local tax money totaling over $4.75 million has been invested in this on-going program since its inception.  .  Additionally through the years, nine smaller projects have been completed using in-house labor and materials.

Implementing Parks Development Plan. There are several parks and recreation projects slated for funding in the FY2019 budget. These projects are estimated at over $1.5 million, and most were included in the Parks Master Plan. The projects include an inclusive playground at Roland Bland Park and extensive renovations to the skate park; an outdoor fitness playground along the walking trail at Preston Miller Park; baseball field lights and other renovations at Kereiakes Park; court refurbishment at Parker-Bennett; a new shelter at the Loops at Lovers Lane; and architectural/design services for a mausoleum at Fairview Cemetery.

Developing Plan for Old Louisville Road Corridor.   Identified as a major project for FY2019 at the request of property owners and other interested residents and in the interest of riverfront park expansion, the City is in the process of developing a plan to make enhancements and to promote development and new investment along one of the older entrance corridors to downtown Bowling Green, Old Louisville Road (to be renamed River Street).  This plan will focus on the rebranding of the area including the further development of the park properties, aesthetic improvements along the roadway related to fencing, lighting, and landscaping.  Two related projects recommended in the FY2019 budget at a total estimated cost of $450,000 include renovations and maintenance to the rock wall structure at RiverWalk Park and a greenways connector under the bridge at Old Louisville Road (River Street).  The successful implementation of any proposed plan will require a partnership among the City, Warren County, Commonwealth of Kentucky, and area property owners and developers and will take several years to complete.

 Meeting the Needs of a Growing Community.   The growth along the City’s boundaries continues to stretch municipal resources.   The Fire Department currently staffs six stations throughout the City but is facing lengthened response times that are critical in providing immediate service.  Rapid development along Lovers Lane has pressed the City to plan, construct, and staff a new fire station to open in 2020, while studying possible additional stations to serve the Transpark and Russellville Road areas.

The Public Works Department is in the process of developing a targeted traffic improvement plan in an effort to mitigate traffic congestion resulting from the City’s growth in recent years. Similar to the Stormwater Mitigation and New Sidewalk Programs, this plan will identify areas for improvement and prioritize projects based on a predetermined set of criteria.  Funding for the prioritized locations and projects will come from savings in the Future Road Projects Fund.

 

While we plant many trees in our City’s parks each year, a much greater portion of our urban forest is on private land.  You can contribute to our City’s vitality and improve your own landscape by planting trees.  While there is a right place for just about every tree, not every tree is a good fit for every landscape.

In our built environment we need to consider things that do not occur in a tree’s natural environment such as the presence of utilities and restricted growing space.  Here are 5 trees that are adapted to our environment.  You can fine more information at the Tree Board website www.bgky.org/tree or view the City’s Public Tree Ordinance at http://www.bgky.org/government/code-of-ordinances

  • Kousa Dogwood – Cornus kousa
    • This small flowering tree grows to approximately 20-30 feet and does well in full sun unlike the native flowering dogwood.  The Kousa Dogwood has nice bark and fall color.

  • Lacebark elm – Ulmus parvifolia
    • This medium size tree grows 40-50 feet with attractive bark and tolerates poor and compacted soils

  • Black gum or Tupelo – Nyssa sylvatica
    • This native medium size tree grows 30-50 feet with excellent red fall color. The Black Gum prefers acid soil.

  • Shumard Oak – Quercus shumardii
    • This large native tree grows to 40-60 feet or more and tolerates a wide range of soil conditions.  Similar to pin oak, but does better in limestone soils common to this area.

  • Sugar Maple – Acer saccharum
    • This large native tree grows to 60-75 plus feet with excellent fall color. This is a tree that draws people to the forests in the autumn.  Requires ample space above and below ground.

The National Arbor Day Foundation recognizes cities across the country for efforts to maintain their Urban Forest by designating them as a Tree City USA.  Bowling Green has been awarded the status of Tree City USA since 1994.  An Urban Forest is made up of all the trees growing within our city including public and private trees.  This collection of trees provides many benefits to all residents such as cleaning our air and water and also makes our city more attractive to visitors, which benefits our city and local businesses financially.

Here are a few tips for planting your tree

  • Choose the tree based on your location
    • Do not plant large trees near power lines
    • Call 811 to have underground utilities marked
    • Large trees need lots of soil area
    • If you are planting a public tree (near the street) please see Public Tree Ordinance
    • http://www.bgky.org/government/code-of-ordinances
  • Do not plant trees too deep
  • Apply mulch 2-3 inches deep
    • Keep mulch off of trunk
  • Water tree for at least first year
    • About 1 inch per week
    • Water deeply and infrequently (weekly, not daily)

 

The City of Bowling Green “We are Bowling Green” second annual photo contest has come to a close. The Judges reviewed all photos submitted and the top three winners will receive a $100 (1st place), $75 (2nd place) and $25 (3rd place) gift card to Amazon.

We asked folks to take and submit pictures of what they love about Bowling Green and we received 90 entries. Pictures were taken of downtown, rivers, people, animals, events and so much more. We look forward to using the photos online, in print and in our 2018 Annual report/2019 Calendar.

 

Almost 300 votes were cast for the People’s Choice Award, and with 20.68% of the vote, we had a clear winner. People’s Choice winner will also receive a $100 gift card to Amazon.

 

Judges Choice

1st – Beautiful Bridge by – Tanner Kremer

2nd – Downtown Reflection Inside Out by Sheila Reeves

3rd – Snowy Night at the Square by Fred Dent

People’s Choice

1st – Beautiful Bridge by – Tanner Kremer

A special thank you to all who participated by submitting photos, voting online and those who judged!  All winners will receive recognition during the June 19th Board of Commissioners meeting and the winning photos will be displayed.

Below are all of our great submissions in no particular order.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This year feels like we went straight from winter to summer. The warm temperatures have folks ready to go for a swim and it won’t be long until The Russell Sims Aquatic Center is open!

Opening day is scheduled for Friday, May 25th, 2018 weather permitting and folks will notice some big changes when they visit us this year. Our former entrance has been closed off to make room for more restrooms and showers, a larger changing area and the addition of two family changing rooms. A new entrance area has been constructed and will allow for four lines of patrons during our busier hours. In addition, the pool bottom was refinished and painted, and all of our features and handrails have also been repainted.

 

As always, children of all ages will enjoy the zero depth entry, palm trees, water buckets, lemon drops, splash playground, and beautiful beach area. In addition, Russell Sims boasts a 50 meter pool, two awesome water slides, and two diving boards where you can amaze the crowd.

Don’t forget to make it a point to come hungry. We have a full line of concessions that is sure to have what you are craving. The Russell Sims Aquatic Center is staffed with American Red Cross certified lifeguards and we make customer service our #1 priority!

General admission is $8 for adults (16+ years), $5 for youth 6 to 15 years, $4 for children ages 3 to 5 and babies under 2 are only $2. Half price admission begins after 4 p.m.! Individual season passes can be purchased for $100 and family passes for up to four members can be purchased for $200! See all pricing details at http://www2.bgky.org/bgpr/aquatics/rates.php.

Sign up for text alerts to get the latest updates for park closures, special events and discounts. Text “WaterBG” to 555-888. We hope to see you soon!

The voters of the City of Bowling Green decided in the 1968 to move to a City Manager form of government. There are 19 other municipal governments in Kentucky that use the City Manager form of government, out of 418 cities.  Since 1968, most Boards of Commissions have endeavored to manage the functions of the city in the most professional and non-political nature as possible. Bowling Green, is by far the shining example of professionally managed municipalities in Kentucky. We have had great success in advancing our community, and that is in large part to our employees, who have been guided by the lead city employee, the city manager.

If you will allow me to take just one more moment to acknowledge the hard work of recently retired City Manager Kevin DeFebbo, who is taking a much deserved vacation. His insight into selecting departmental leadership was outstanding. He prepared our senior leadership team to continue on task during his absence as we selected the new city manager.

There were 40 some applicants, both internal and external.  The Board of Commissioners took the time to review the information from each one. Although 8 were invited to participate in the initial round of interviews, a few of those were provided new opportunities with their current positions or a found a new employer and chose not to participate further with ours.

 

The difficulty in our interviews was that all of the applicants were highly qualified and regarding the internal candidates, very well thought of, both in the community and among the Board of Commissioners. I would like to thank each applicant for their interest.

Also, thanks to the Assistant City Manager/City Clerk Katie Schaller-Ward for her stepping up to the role in the interim period. Like I said earlier, we didn’t miss a beat. I would also like to thank each member of the Board for their insight and viewpoints as we made this selection. As previous Mayor Charlie Hardcastle has told me, the most important decision we will make as a Board is the selection of a City Manager.

Jeff Meisel has been an employee of the City of Bowling Green since 2002. He has served as City Treasurer prior to his appointment as Chief Financial Officer in 2006. He maintains certification as a Public Accountant. Some of his notable work products includes:  he was the principle behind the discovery and prosecution of the Davis Cooper embezzlement; he has produced 11 years of balanced income projections and spending; he has lead the city to reduction of debt load from a high of about $150 million in 2009 to less than $85 million currently; through his leadership, the Finance Department has won the Government Finance Officers Association Excellence in Financial Reporting award for 11 consecutive years. His most significant achievement, of course, is his family – his wife LouAnn and his twin children, Landon and Macy.

Please join me in welcoming Bowling Green’s new City Manager, Jeff Meisel.

~Mayor Bruce Wilkerson

The City of Bowling Green will kick off its #BGGovToGo season with a “Star Wars” themed May the 4th Community Block Party on Friday, May the 4th from 5:00-8:00 p.m. at SOKY Marketplace, located at 636 Center Street behind SKYPAC.

Wear your favorite Star Wars gear, grab your lawn chair or blanket, and come out to enjoy free fun for all ages.  Free hot dogs, lemonade and pop ice will be available while supplies last, and food trucks will have additional treats for sale.  Young and old Jedi’s alike can try out obstacle courses, inspect the Imperial Fleet and Armory (which includes public safety and public works vehicles and equipment), and see our local community heroes up close:  including police, fire, public works, utility workers, parks and recreation and even elected officials.  Hands-on activities, lawn games, and other surprise attractions will be on hand as well.

Participating agencies include all City departments, BGMU, Scott Waste Management, the Planning Commission, Warren County Public Library, Warren County Health Department, Warren County Public Works, SOKY Marketplace, Momo Kitchen, and more.

Free parking is available at the Stadium Park Plaza parking garage, Circus Square Park, and on the street.

#BGGovToGo is a neighborhood outreach initiative that brings information about City services and programs out to special events and to neighborhoods while modeling low cost ways for neighbors to get to know one another and advocate for the needs in their area.  This focus on meeting people where they are kicks off with the May the 4th Community Block Party, continues in varied locations throughout the summer and fall, and concludes with Pumpkin Palooza and Food Truck Rally on Friday, Oct. 12 at Circus Square Park.  To plan a neighborhood #BGGovToGo block party or invite #BGGovToGo to your special event, call 270.393.3444 or email karen.foley@bgky.org.

Other upcoming dates (not all inclusive) are:

Saturday, June 2:  #BGGovToGo at Warren County Public Library’s Battle of the Bands

Tuesday, June 5:  #BGGovToGo at Community Connection Event at Dishman McGinnis Elementary School

Tuesday, June 19:  #BGGovToGo at Stand for Children Day

Friday, June 20:  #BGGovToGo at Independence Bank’s Family Fun Night at West End Park

 

To plan a neighborhood #BGGovToGo block party or invite #BGGovToGo to your special event, call 270.393.3444 or email karen.foley@bgky.org.

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