Green space: Q&A with Mayor Edwards

Plans are soon coming to “Wooster Green,” Bowling Green’s open green space at the corner of West Wooster and South Church streets, and Mayor Richard Edwards is in the know. Here’s his thoughts to get community members up-to-date.

Q: What are the plans going forward with Wooster Green?A: A design committee has been at work, and they’re going to…share some things with the Steering Committee tomorrow (Thursday, March 23) at 4 p.m. Two people that have been involved with the process since this inception: Lloyd Triggs, high school art teacher…and Loraine Young who teaches at the University, design. Those two have been co-chairing the design committee. They’re going to share with us some design concepts tomorrow.

Q: What do some of the designs look like so far?

A: So we’re really in kind of in basic stages right now. I can’t really project…the Steering Committee will likely be meeting monthly, but first of the ideas is to agree upon a design. The two basic elements here at the Wooster Green will be a pavilion and an entry gate. We’re already getting a fair amount of use over there…it’s very encouraging from my perspective to see the community already using that.

Q: Are any of the designs, like the pavilion, already a done-deal?

A: No, we don’t know. The design committee will show some concepts, some possibilities, for the pavilion. We might also see some possibilities for the entry gate. If we have a pavilion, we’re going to want to have electrical outlets. We want to have benches. Someone even proposed that we take a look at benches that have a plugin for cellphones—I don’t know if that’s possible.

Q: Has there been any conflict over what the space should be used for?

A:  All of this is very tricky; we know we’re not going to make everyone happy, whatever we come up with, but it’s so important that it be done in keeping with the historic character of that particular region. Whatever we do in there has got to be somehow be in sync with what we have around and with our historic downtown area, period.

Q:  The rest of Wooster Green’s development will come from community members, not the city. How much will Wooster Green cost?

A:   We’re going to have to raise the money, and we know that at minimum, it’s probably going to take maybe $250,000—at least that’s the rough number of the target goal. I hope that maybe by the fall, with the start of the new academic year, maybe to coincide with the 25th anniversary of the Black Swamp Arts festival we might be able to launch a fundraising campaign, but that’s yet to be determined.

Q: How long do you think it’ll take to raise the money?

A: My feeling is that I’ve already had people step forward…so I’d like to think that process will go forward. At least, so that in 2018, we can be talking about construction and doing something over there.

Q: How will Wooster Green benefit the community?

A: To me, and it has been from day one, precious ground over there. Many communities have been blessed over the years to have a little bit of green space. Bowling Green has never had a green space like that in its downtown area.

Q: What have the reactions been from the public so far?

A: You can never put a real price on green space, from my point of view, and lots of other citizens have agreed too. Some people say, ‘you should do this, you should do that’; but at some point you gotta move and hope that most people will like what they see. The reaction from the business community and from downtown Bowling Green has been very positive. We’re just getting good feedback. I think the general view is that most people in the community are very excited about Wooster Green.

As Mayor Edwards mentioned, the Wooster Green Steering Committee will be meeting Thursday, March 23 at 4 p.m. to discuss design plans.