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Posted on: August 29, 2022

Downtown Forward Announcement and Kickoff

The City of Bowling Green, the Center for Regional Development (CRD), and Bowling Green State University (BGSU) are hosting a press conference to announce Downtown Forward, 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.

Community members are invited to attend the kickoff event on Tuesday, September 6th at 4:00 pm in the Community Commons “alley”, located on the north side of the first block of East Wooster Street. In case of inclement weather, the event will be held in the lobby area of 217 S. Church St. (location of the BG Chamber and Economic Development).  Bowling Green Mayor Mike Aspacher and BGSU President Rodney K. Rogers will issue remarks during the event.

Bowling Green Mayor Mike Aspacher will introduce the team he has appointed to spearhead this initiative during the event.  “I’m excited about the opportunity to engage a strong community team, the City, and BGSU’s R3 Program to find the best ways to strengthen our downtown for the future.  This engagement gives us a unique opportunity to further enhance the downtown to serve the needs of our current and future residents and attract new businesses to our community,” the Mayor said.  

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.

“We are so pleased to engage the City of Bowling Green, the City of Mansfield, and the Village of Paulding - these communities create so much good in our region and Ohio,” said BGSU President Rodney K. Rogers. “As a public university for the public good, BGSU is committed to supporting the current and future growth and vitality of our rural communities that power our state. Our R3 initiative is another example of how together, we can make our region stronger and position Ohio for future success.”

“The economic, cultural, and technological divide between larger cities and communities and rural small towns has never been greater,” said Russell Mills, Senior Director for the BGSU Center for Regional Development. “Through this initiative, we are able to work closely with communities to identify placemaking opportunities that will impact workforce attraction and retention in our region and state.” 

The R3 program is funded by the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) and the USDA Rural Development Rural Placemaking Innovation Challenge (RPIC).

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