Relations Commission discuss clean streets

Holly Shively and Holly Shively

Bowling Green Residents may see green business certifications and cleaner neighborhoods in the near future after City-University Relations Commission discussions Tuesday night.

Proceeding under new elected leaders including Co-chairs Daniel Gordon, city council president pro tem, and Lisa Mattiace, University President Chief of Staff, as well as secretary Michael Oiler, a second-year graduate student at the University, the City-University Commission invited city Public Works Director Brian Kraft to inform attendants about downtown litter problems.

Kraft said there has particularly been a litter problem across from CVS in the Market Square and near the complex where Domino’s Pizza is located, specifically on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, when Domino’s sells large quantities of pizza by the slice in a box.

“The first 10 or 15 of them fit in the trash cans, but the hundreds after them don’t,” Kraft said.

He said the key is for businesses to take responsibility for their own trash generation.

“Our containers are meant to be for that casual person walking downtown…It’s not meant to be the dumpster for each business that it sits in front of, so we try to strike that balance of having enough containers up there to keep downtown litter free,” Kraft said.

The commission brought up several solutions including Domino’s employees emptying the containers more often, better packaging for the pizza, and handouts with city perspectives of problems.

“Pieces of paper tend to be lost…It’s more of a discussion thing,” said Barbara Roland, executive director of downtown Bowling Green.

Health violations were also a concern for the packaging solution.

President of the University’s Environmental Action Group Matthew Cunningham said the city should consider Green business certification, such as a sticker to label businesses that produce less than a certain amount of trash or waste.

“It needs to be incentivized in some way. And you can look at examples of communities and cities that have done green business certification, and you’ll see that their profits will go up compared to companies that say ‘We’re not going to worry about it,’” Cunningham said.

Chris Ostrowski, a city property manager, suggested initiating a pilot program downtown to test run a green certification program.

The commission made the conclusion to contact Dr. Nick Hennessey, University sustainability coordinator, and Amanda Gambey, Wood County’s environmental educator, to discuss these concerns and report back at the next meeting with a list of qualifications to become a green business in the city of Bowling Green.

“Many of the elements are in place, it’s just taking that little extra step,” Mayor Edwards said.

Mattice suggested working towards the implication of some sort of green business program as a New Year’s resolution.

The commission also decided to work towards implementing the Adopt a Neighborhood Program, a program that had been in planning stages last year but was never implemented. The idea behind the program is that the Undergraduate Student Government would request that each Greek organization on Campus would adopt a neighborhood to clean up and care for.

“On one hand we’re cleaning up the neighborhoods. On the other hand we’re also reversing those stereotypes that we have of students,” Gordon said. He explained that members of Greek life are often seen as nuisances in the community, whether rightly or wrongly.

The commission decided to plan a public forum in January to get community input on this issue.