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Published: Wednesday, 1/12/2005

Bowling Green: Year's success lauded, new goals listed

BY JENNIFER FEEHAN
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Mayor John Quinn figures 2004 was a pretty good year for Bowling Green, but he's got a long list of goals for the new year.

" 'O4 was an excellent year for the city of Bowling Green - successful projects, good bottom-line finances, and no disasters," he said. "This was the first time in a couple years with no [bad] weather or blackout, no big fires."

Mayor Quinn plans to deliver his annual state of the city address at a breakfast meeting sponsored by the chamber of commerce at 7:30 a.m. Jan. 20 at Stone Ridge Golf Club.

Getting the widening project on East Wooster Street completed nearly nine months early topped the list of successful projects last year, but the city has a few more on its plate.

Together with the Ohio National Guard and the Wood County Board of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities, the city is building a $9.5 million community center at Haskins and Newton roads that is has dreamed of for more than a decade.

Construction is expected to be completed in May, although the mayor said officials anticipate a "soft opening" at that time meaning that members can use the facility but programming will be limited as the center works out the bugs of a new building.

"I think from the standpoint of Wood Lane and the National Guard, they're much more eager to get in and get using the building," he said. "We're going to low key things through the summer with a hard opening in August."

The city is paying about 40 percent of the cost of the 82,000-square-foot building, which has three gymnasiums, an indoor track, fitness rooms, classrooms, and a child care area.

Also in May, the city's 1.4-mill operating levy that supports the parks and recreation department will be on the ballot. Voters will be asked to replace the five-year levy, which would generate about $612,000 a year.

The mayor said the city plans to work on further fund-raising and planning for the Simpson Arboretum and Garden Park, an 8-acre parcel next to the park department's offices at Conneaut Avenue and Wintergarden Road.

Mayor Quinn said the committee he appointed to study sites and financing options for a new city hall will focus on funding issues this year. While the committee so far has favored the Bowling Green Junior High School site on West Wooster Street, much will depend on the outcome of a bond issue the school board plans to seek for building a middle school.

Also in 2005, the city plans to begin actively enforcing its nearly 30-year-old occupancy rule that limits to three the number of unrelated individuals who can live together in residential neighborhoods. It hopes to reduce the noise, litter, and parking problems that result at houses rented to five or six college students.Mayor Quinn became embroiled in a debate on the issue last year when city police obtained search warrants to investigate houses where they believed the law was being broken. He said the city will hire a full-time zoning inspector this year, and he would like to see council give that employee authority to cite residents forviolations.



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