Is Lifeskills Relocation on Hold?

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With a new mayor and city commission heading into office in January, several city-funded projects in Bowling Green are sure to come under the microscope. Near the top of that list is the controversial proposed relocation of Lifeskills headquarters to the corner of 6th and State St. near the Circus Square area.

The Downtown Redevelopment Authority and Downtown Merchants Association oppose the move, saying the building doesn't fit in with the Downtown Master Plan.

The city government is currently in a disagreement with some state and federal authorities over the use of eminent domain to purchase property for the new building. The city believes it can use eminent domain, while state and federal authorities have expressed reservations.

"I do not believe that they can move forward with the use of eminent domain, I do not believe they have that authority. And I'm hopeful that that is not happening right now," said mayor-elect Elaine Walker.

Lifeskills CEO Dale Bond told WBKO Thursday that has not spoken with city officials since election night, but says he has no reason to believe that the Lifeskills timetable will change. That plan calls for groundbreaking in January of 2005, days or weeks after the new mayor and city commissioners are sworn in on New Year's Eve.

Mayor-elect Walker says she believes there are several unanswered questions about the move, including whether or not the current commission was given all of the proper information before voting on the land deal in June.

"I am hopeful that they will not move forward with this. It has become very clear that the public is concerned about this, and that they will stand back and not push this thing through before January," Walker said. "I think that before we move forward, we need to get hard, fast answers to those questions. And if it involves moving their date back, then I think we need to do that."