City Commission approves grant application to revitalize riverfront

Emily DeLetter

A grant application to revitalize Bowling Green’s riverfront area was approved Tuesday at the City Commission meeting.

The Land and Water Conservation Fund Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership Program grant application for $750,000 will be sent to the National Park Service (NPS). This project, if approved by the NPS will take place on two plots of city-owned land across the Barren River from Mitch McConnell Park.

Brent Childers, director of neighborhoods and community service for the City of Bowling Green discussed the grant application with the elected leaders present. 

Childers said the grant application was something that was talked about two years ago but was not successful. Eligibility for the grant requires a population of at least 50,000. The United States Census Bureau reported that Bowling Green had a city population of around 65,000 as of 2016.

“Our competitors are much larger cities,” Childers said. “This year we want to produce the most competitive application we can. I stand before you tonight asking you to over match the grant. That’s not something we’ve done in the past but reviewing the guidelines I became aware that if you just match at the guidelines [$750,000] you get no points. You have to bring more match to the table.”

Childers said in order to stay competitive, the municipal order is requesting that the city should pledge $1.5 million of its own money, as a part of the $750,000 grant. 

Revitalizing the riverfront would include building a boat ramp, fishing platforms, bouldering facilities and a disc golf course. Childers said the project would continue over multiple years with different phases to “avoid issuing any debt.”

“The goal is to change the minds, change the attitudes of how people see these roughly 60 acres of recreation space,” Childers said.

City Commissioner Slim Nash voiced his approval for the grant application, saying those proposing the grant saw the area as “a diamond in the lump of coal”.

“Every little idea they have gets us a little bit closer in turning that particular area of the city of Bowling Green into a very desirable place people will go to,” Nash said.

The municipal order passed unanimously.

Reporter Emily DeLetter can be reached at 270-745-6011 or [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at @emilydeletter.