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The BG News
BG24 Newscast
November 30, 2023

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City needs funds to build garden park

The city may soon have its own garden park with “sculptured landscapes, a waterfall, and quiet trails,” as a fundraising drive is being organized by the private Parks and Recreation Foundation Board to do exactly that.

The board is aiming to collect $750,000 to develop an 11-acre area just west of the Wood County Hospital on the corner of N. Wintergarden Road and Conneaut Avenue, where the offices of the Bowling Green Parks and Recreation Department are currently located.

The proposed Simpson Garden Park includes a Japanese garden with stream, an amphitheater, a children’s play garden, a sensory garden, a landform sculpture, several bulb gardens, a perennial garden, an upland garden, a shade garden, facilities, and walking paths throughout.

“It will be a botanical showplace that will be used and enjoyed by all the city’s residents. A resource that few other Ohio cities have, especially those the size of Bowling Green,” said Nadine Edwards, who is co-chairing, along with Dick Edwards, the campaign to raise funds for the park.

The park will also include an educational facility and ability garden where older adults can learn the ins and outs of gardening, possibly from a professional horticulturist hired by the Parks and Recreation Department to manage the park’s complex landscape.

According to Parks and Recreation Department director Michelle Grigore, the park will not appear overnight, “it will first take seed, develop roots, and then blossom.”

Literally, the trees in the shade garden may take 20 years to develop. Figuratively, funds needed to plant the park will be collected over time, and the park will be developed section by section.

Some funds will come from the city. Public funds have already been used to relocate power and phone lines underground. According to Grigore, who is also a member of the steering committee formed by the board to handle the fundraising, private funds will be used for plants, and not components like irrigation and drainage, which will be done by the city.

The Rotary Club recently donated $40,000 to build the park’s 60 to 75 seat amphitheater. The groundbreaking ceremony was held last Thursday. Dick Edwards described the donation as “a significant example of community interest in seeing the Simpson Garden Park becoming a reality.”

The word on further donations is promising for the committee, especially considering the results of a recent survey completed by the Bowling Green Parks and Recreation Department where most respondents indicated they would be interested in seeing more recreational walking trails in the city.

Finding donors is not the only hurdle for the committee, though. Surrounding the garden park are homes of Bowling Green residents, and screening the park from the houses will be a challenge as well, according to Grigore.

“I don’t think it’s gonna be a problem. It’s gonna be a nice park, but it’s not gonna be heavily used like a ballpark or even like City Park is. There’s a little concern about being maybe right next door to a park, but it should be a nice place to go. We enjoy gardens, and I’m interested in having it there,” said Tom Milbrodt, who added that he can look over the park from his backyard.

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