DRA Says Bowling Green is Trying to Shut Them Down

By Michael Gossum | 

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) -- The Bowling Green City Commission voted unanimously Tuesday night to take matters to court with the Downtown Redevelopment Authority.

Mayor Bruce Wilkerson said it's about the DRA interfering with the public using Circus Square Park and a related parking lot.

He told WBKO, negotiations with the DRA weren't going anywhere.

"Since the city purchased, paid for and constructed the park, we felt to make sure it was open and available to the public. So, we're going to continue that action," said Bowling Green Mayor Bruce Wilkerson.

"We want the park to be used. We want it to be popular. We encourage it. So, I don't know where they come up with this stuff," said DRA Executive Director Ron Murphy.

City officials say they've tried several options through negotiation including offering to purchase part of the property.

Murphy said the most recent offer was $107,000, but he said before they could respond a lawsuit was headed their way.

To give you an idea of the property lines for the DRA, State and 6th are used as boundaries, as well as the edge of their building. The parking lot is split, part of it is owned by the city and the other by the DRA.

Bowling Green claims the DRA was unjustly enriching their organization.

"They might as well be speaking greek. I don't know what they're talking about, us enriching ourselves. We're on a shoestring budget, and it's very limited."

WBKO asked Murphy if he thought the city was trying to shut down the DRA, "Yes, I do. Why, I don't know," said Murphy.

Wilkerson said the lawsuit will likely be filed Friday.

The city used to fund the DRA, but stopped recently.

Murphy said they used to get $30,000 a year from Bowling Green.

What the commissioners voted on was a municipal order authorizing legal action, so it does not require a second reading like a city ordinance would.

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