The Bowling Green Hot Rods are preparing for their home-opener against the South Bend Silver Hawks this Thursday evening. As a new season begins, the games won't be the only things drawing people to the area.
Just in time for baseball season, Hitcents Park Plaza's new sports bar, 643, appropriately named for the double play, is expected to open by the end of the week.
"It's actually a total coincidence, and it's a great coincidence because I think alot of people will want to see both the changes at the Hot Rods stadium as well as the exciting stuff here," said MR Group Marketing Coordinator Sydnee Dorris.
TIF Authority Chairman Doug Gorman says the authority's recent decision to make parking free in the Hitcents Park Plaza garage, came just in time for the opening of several restaurants in the building, and the Hot Rods season.
"The garage itself was never intended to be paid for with parking revenue, so for us it made sense to enhance the downtown experience. We want to have the free parking so people wouldn't have to worry all the other things. They could find a spot to park at and go to their favorite thing to do downtown," said Warren County Downtown Economic Development Authority Chairman Doug Gorman.
Gorman says the only exception in which parking there would require a fee would be a special event with notice.
"For the most part, 99 percent of the time, there will never be a charge there. People will know ahead of time if there was, but there won't be for any Hot Rods games, or any event in SKyPAC. There won't be a parking charge for that," said Gorman.
"Just not even having to worry about parking... I think that's wonderful. We have over 800 spaces and they don't ever have to pay for it. It's perfect. They're will never be a lack of parking," said Dorris.
Dorris says that will be particularly helpful when the plaza's three fast casual restaurants open in the coming weeks, and when Mariah's Restaurant relocates mid April. Dorris says the MR Group had planned on opening the sports bar Wednesday, but postponed it until they knew their food and service would be perfect. We'll keep you updated as the changes unfold.