By ANIYA JOHNSON
duPont Manual High School
Construction on downtown Bowling Green’s Fountain Square project is on schedule as workers focus on sidewalk and lighting improvements this week.
On Friday, crews demolished sidewalks and poured new ones on State Street and Park Row. The five-phase $3.9 million project, which began in February, is scheduled to be finished no later than the spring of 2020.
Vehicle traffic was not disrupted, but pedestrians are being rerouted as the sidewalk work is done.
Ultimately, the project’s goal is to increase downtown Bowling Green’s walkability and make the area more urban. Scott and Murphy Construction is the contractor on the project.
Sixteen weeks into the project, businesses are making the best of the disruption.
Shops, restaurants, banks and other storefronts all remain open during construction, according to www.bgdowntownsquare.com.
Nate Settler, an employee at Spencer’s Coffee, said customers have talked about the inconveniences but are still coming in for their caffeine fixes.
“I don’t think (construction) would stop anybody from coming in here,” Settler said. “But we did get a lot of complaints like, ‘Business is slowing down.’ and ‘It’s so hard to get into this place,’” Settler said.
When all is said and done, the coffee shop will have more nearby places for customers to park.
“We did lose a couple (spaces) right in front of our store, but we’re going to get some more after all,” Settler said.
In addition to the area becoming more walkable, the historic Fountain Square Park, dedicated in 1872 and the site of many of the city’s celebrations and protests through the decades, will be made larger.
“We are right now making a bigger park area,” said Dylan Elmore, a construction employee. “More grass, more trees, I love it down here,” Elmore said.
Marie Wilson, a frequent visitor to Fountain Square Park, said she, too, likes the changes. “It’s pretty down here. At first, I thought Bowling Green was just a small city, but we’ve grown a lot,” she said.
To keep tabs on the project, visit www.bgdowntownsquare.com or text “BG” to 313131 to receive push notifications on construction updates.