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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.