DRA Director Says Mayor Jones Threatened Her Job

By: Jon Hardison
By: Jon Hardison

In the midst of rift between the city and the Bowling Green's Downtown Redevelopment Authority, the DRA's director told WBKO today that Mayor Sandy Jones has threatened her job.

"The mayor has threatened me several times, although they've just been personally in private. I think she has finally come out in the public with it," says Cheryl Blaine, the DRA's Executive Director.

Mayor Jones calls the accusation "ludicrous....That's not correct."

The Mayor and the city are embroiled in a public dispute with the DRA over the proposed relocation of the Lifeskills Inc. headquarters to a new 40,000 square foot facility in the 500 block between State and Chestnut Streets.

"I certainly didn't expect this kind of flap," said Lifeskills CEO Dale Bond.
Lifeskills Inc. is a corporation funded by state and federal Medicaid dollars, as well as insurance coverage and grants, to provide services and care to those struggling with mental health issues.

The DRA says they support the Lifeskills mission, but would like the new building to go up in another site close by, to save the land in question for proposed commercial development along Circus Square. But Mayor Jones and the city say they stand by the project.

The Downtown Merchants Association announced its public support for the DRA, saying it believes the city should enable the DRA to take the lead on all downtown-related projects.

Blaine says the mayor has threatened her several times, saying "that I need to be looking at where my paychecks come from, and she's also told me on several occasions that they could dissolve our board. And that they created us, which they did not," Blaine says.

Mayor Jones reiterated her denial of those allegations, and says she is fully aware that the city doesn't have the power to disband the DRA, but is responsible for more than half of its administrative funding.

Jones says it was she who worked with the city's budget director to make sure the DRA had enough money for this fiscal year, after city staff recommended cutting some of the funding.


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