Circus Square Project Needs City Funds Soon

By: Jon Hardison
By: Jon Hardison

One of Bowling Green's biggest redevelopment projects may be in jeopardy, if the city doesn't come up with more funding to move forward.

The Circus Square project is the number one priority for the Downtown Redevelopment Authority.

The DRA's director told city commissioners last night that for it to stay that way, the city must find a way to invest millions into making the design a reality.

All but one piece of land inside the Circus Square block has been purchased, but it will take an estimated $4.7 million more to renovate this historic building into a welcome center and create the greenspace and pavilions that are part of the master plan.

The DRA says several developers want to invest in townhomes or hotels near the proposed development, but they won't move until the city commits to completing the project.

"Even though we've come relatively a long way in 2-3 years, it's getting to the point where now they want to see a plan and know that we're gonna have the funds to finish it," DRA Executive Director Cheryl Blaine said.

"We have already invested heavily. We have invested a lot of resources, we have gotten a lot of other government funding in this area. We would be foolish to stop now. Because if we stop, I'm not sure we'd ever get it going again," Mayor Elaine Walker said.

Walker says the city may look at issuing bonds to pay for the project, but will wait until the current budget-planning process is finished in mid-June. Walker says the zero-based budget approach has enabled city staff to find $500,000 in expenses to cut out of next year's budget.


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