By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN
BG Independent News
It’s almost time for the window boxes downtown to be filled with flowers, but in Tony Vetter’s office, it feels more like the winter holiday season.
A 5ft wreath leans against the wall, huge red arches are ready to adorn the lampposts and colorfully ornamented banners wait to be unfurled.
Vetter, executive director of Downtown BG, feels like the holidays have come early this year.
When the Bowling Green Downtown Foundation announced in February that it was launching a fundraising campaign for new holiday decorations, members knew it was a lofty goal.
But a few months later, the public responded by donating $48,000 of the $88,000 goal.
“I’m amazed at the response to donations for this project – which tells me that this is something the community has wanted for some time,” Vetter said.
The city plans to do a “trial” this winter in all four corners of the city centre. Vetter is excited to hear community feedback on the huge crowns, bows, and banners.
The old holiday decorations are 20 years old, according to Dick Newlove, president of the Downtown Foundation.
“You don’t have to look far to see that downtown holiday decorations in neighboring communities are much fresher and more inviting,” Newlove said when the campaign kicked off in February.
The new plan features existing streetlights downtown along Main Street and Wooster Street decorated with LED-lit wreaths and red arches. There will be holiday banners on streetlights further north and south. The plan also includes swags and wreaths with lights, bows and ribbons north and south of Main Street.
Donations can be made by sending checks payable to The Downtown Foundation, 217 S. Church St., Bowling Green, Ohio, 43402 or by visiting https://downtownbgohio.org/partnership-opportunities-1.
All sponsors will be acknowledged on the Downtown Foundation website and in online promotional materials.
But back to this spring season, downtown is getting at least two new parklets – ahead of SamB’s and Flatlands Coffee. The three parklets installed last year have already returned and will be lit this year.
Businesses appreciate the ability to extend their seating outdoors, Vetter said.
“There’s a lot of positive buzz,” he said.
Although the businesses next to the parklets take care of the seating, the space is available to the public, according to Vetter.
“Anyone can use them. These are public spaces, not private spaces,” he said.
Despite concerns last year that parklets could cause problems at the Black Swamp Arts Festival, Vetter said the structures didn’t seem to interfere.
“We try to balance the benefits for merchants, customers and all the events that happen downtown,” he said.
The annual downtown flower planting is scheduled for May 10, for anyone who would like to help out. The rainy date is May 11.
Art Walk is scheduled for downtown on May 14, with prizes awarded in the afternoon.