Downtown Forward

The City of Bowling Green, the Center for Regional Development (CRD), and Bowling Green State University (BGSU) are excited to announce the completion of downtown Bowling Green’s first Pedestrian Experience Plan (PEP). The Pedestrian Experience Plan is a strategy that was formulated through Downtown Forward. Downtown Forward is a collaborative initiative to enhance placemaking in downtown Bowling Green. The Downtown Forward partnership was formed after the City of Bowling Green was selected to participate in the Reimagining Rural Regions (R3) program with CRD.

The R3 program, launched in 2021, is an economic and workforce development-centered placemaking initiative that helps communities identify, enhance and build community assets to aid in talent attraction and retention. The program provides the capacity to communities to conduct public engagement to develop placemaking plans. Additionally, BGSU graduate and undergraduate students work with each community to help plan and implement projects to enhance and build more livable spaces.  The R3 program is funded by the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) and the USDA Rural Development Rural Placemaking Innovation Challenge (RPIC).

Downtown Forward Map

Community Feedback

Over the last year, CRD staff, graduate assistants, and undergraduate placemaking and community engagement (PaCE) fellows, with guidance from the Downtown Forward Steering Committee, went through an extensive public engagement process. Through two public information sessions last fall, followed by focus groups and a community wide survey, CRD was able to garner feedback from stakeholders in the community. The iterative process brought the Steering Committee to the decision to create a Pedestrian Experience Plan.

About 70 people attended the first Community Feedback Sessions held on October 18 and October 20, 2022.

Community Feedback Sessions Report

Downtown Bowling Green Pedestrian Experience Plan

The goal of the Downtown Bowling Green Pedestrian Experience Plan (PDF) is to provide Bowling Green with information and project ideas that can be implemented to enhance the walking experience in the downtown. On Monday, September 18, at 7:00 PM, members from CRD will present the PEP to Bowling Green City Council members. Members of the public are invited to attend.

The plan outlines in more detail the community engagement process used in the planning process, demographic data about Bowling Green, and information and case studies for each area of focus. The areas of focus are:

  • Alley Beautification
  • Public Art
  • Signage/ Wayfinding

The information for the case studies was collected by the PaCE fellows, who conducted peer reviews of projects in other communities, as well as interviews of those involved in the projects to collect firsthand knowledge on how to implement projects that can be replicated in Bowling Green. In addition to the case studies, the PEP includes an “alley inventory” of downtown Bowling Green which is a map and list that identifies the alleys in BG, the status of each alley, and whether it is publicly or privately owned. 

For questions or inquiries about Downtown Forward please Email Martha Woelke.