City Commission rezones WKU land, discusses plans for future bike path

Mitchell Grogg

Property owned by WKU’s Student Life Foundation was zoned for the construction of more university apartments Tuesday night.

Mayor Bruce Wilkerson said he is glad to see the block being cleaned up and developed. 

“That means that in town we’ve got more people, which will provide greater business opportunities for emergence downtown and greater opportunities for students to live, so it turns out great,” he said. 

The ordinance zoned land “located at Kentucky Street, Alumni Avenue, 13th Avenue and an alley” as Planned Unit Development, according to the meeting’s agenda.

The commissioners also discussed a bikeway project set to run through WKU’s campus, connecting it to the downtown area. The proposed bikeway is set to begin near the Creason Parking Lot, run through WKU’s campus, and end at Bowling Green Parks and Recreation.

Helen Tyson Siewers, landscape architect with WKU Planning, Design and Construction, said part of this has to do with safety. 

“The goal of the project is to provide safer bicycle and pedestrian facilities to connect the campus to the downtown area,” Siewers said. 

The portion of the bikeway running through campus will begin at the Creason Parking Lot, and run on the south side of Avenue of Champions until the path reaches the Downing University Center. At that point, it will cross over to the north side of Avenue of Champions, according to plans presented at the meeting.

WKU is considering the installation of a raised crosswalk as part of the plan, Siewers said.

The bikeway would continue onto College Heights Boulevard to the Augenstein Alumni Center.

The project is possible due to allocations of federal transportation funds — which are set to cover 80 percent of the project’s costs. Total project costs are estimated at $1.2 million.

For the project, 10 percent of the funds will come from WKU. The university’s contribution of just under $120,000 is set to come from the Parking and Transportation Services budget, Siewers said.

Siewers said survey work is set to be finished by the end of May, with the design finished in June or July. From there, the project must be reviewed in Frankfort.

“It’s conceivable that we could break ground this fall,” Siewers said. 

However, Siewers also noted it could be pushed back to next spring, depending on how long approval takes in Frankfort.