Parklet in pieces: driver discovers new outdoor dining area at BG | New
A vehicle this morning destroyed a parklet, one of the new outdoor dining areas in downtown Bowling Green.
Pieces of wood were scattered in front of Kabob It, 132 E. Wooster St.
The parklet was hit at 4:48 a.m., according to Bowling Green Police Lt. Dan Mancuso. The vehicle left the scene.
According to the police report, officers began to search the surrounding area for the suspect vehicle. Once located, officers spoke with the driver, Timothy Koogan.
Koogan, 65, of Bowling Green, has been cited for failure to maintain reasonable control and stop after an accident on public roads or highways.
Ellen Fure Smith, who built the parklets with the help of faculty and staff from the Bowling Green State University School of Art’s integrated studio, said she was incredibly disappointed.
“I put my blood, sweat and tears in it, like so many members of this committee,” she said.
Smith said she had seen the benefits to downtown before, and for that to happen, “it’s disgusting, honestly.”
She called herself a “stubborn builder” and said the parklet would be rebuilt.
The platform moved but didn’t bend, which was the way it was designed, and the planter did what it was supposed to do, acting as a barrier, Smith said.
“I am ready to rebuild. … That won’t stop us from making our downtown area a better place, ”she said.
City Councilor Jeff Dennis said it would be a good opportunity to reassess how downtown streets are used. He said council may need to reconsider whether the goal should be to get through downtown as quickly as possible or get people to downtown Bowling Green to take advantage of the businesses.
“I think it’s clear that we have a real traffic problem here,” he said, “and it’s lucky no one was injured.”
Dennis said the remaining parklets in front of Juniper Brewing Company and Grounds for Thoughts, both on South Main Street, will remain.
“These are protected by curbs,” he said.
Dennis suggested perhaps extending the sidewalk permanently in front of Kabob It.
There were many volunteers on hand to help with the cleanup.
“When we heard something was going on, we all gave it up and we’re happy to come and help,” said Dennis.
Kabob-It owner Zach Baroudi said it was unfortunate, but he was glad no one was hurt.
“We’re going to be fine. I think it was a one-off accident, ”he said.
Surveillance video from the city center captured the crash. It shows a silver Toyota RAV 4 heading south on North Main Street, then heading east on East Wooster Street.
The video shows the SUV hitting the parklet.
According to the accident report, detectives found the vehicle parked at 215 E. Poe Road at 7 a.m. It matched the one in the video and showed damage to the front passenger side, according to the report.
In the police report, Koogan said he went to a downtown bar on Wednesday night and left at 10:30 p.m. He said no one else drives his car and no one else has the key.
Koogan said he stopped drinking when he left the bar and kept asking officers what a parklet was, according to the police report.
Koogan said he quit drinking upon leaving the bar and kept asking officers what a parklet was, according to the police report.
He also reportedly said he didn’t remember anything and left his drink alone at the bar for a few minutes. Koogan demanded to be tested for drugs that would make him unconscious, the police report said. The officer told him that the hospital could do drug tests; Koogan refused an ambulance, according to the report.
According to the police report, two pieces of clear headlight plastic, left at the crash site by the RAV 4, matched the missing pieces on the front passenger side of Koogan’s vehicle.
He is scheduled to appear in Bowling Green City Court on Wednesday.
“Isn’t that just awful?” We are so upset just to think of Kabob It and the people who put so much time and effort into the parklets, ”said Chris Tracy, owner of Juniper Brewing Company, which owns a parklet.
Tracy said they have no qualms about keeping their park open.
“Absolutely not, I can’t wait to see the rebuilt Kabot It parklet,” she said. “I think it was an abnormal accident.
“From what I have learned, this happened early in the morning and I have no reservations.”
Customers dined in the Juniper parklet all day, added Tracy.
“People have been using it all day today. We couldn’t be more excited and grateful, ”she said.
Kelly Wicks, owner of Grounds for Thought, which opened a parklet earlier this week, said the Kabob It incident was unfortunate.
“But it’s really not a parking issue, it’s a road safety issue,” Wicks said, adding that the vehicle could have struck another vehicle or the building.
“I’m still very excited about the parklets,” he said. “The parklets themselves are great ideas and we’ve had a great response.”
Thursday at 2 p.m., the park in the park was full. It has four tables and can accommodate up to 16 people.
The installation of the three parklets began on Friday.
Located in the parking lane adjacent to the sidewalk, the parklets are designed as an extension of the sidewalk.
The city’s program allows parklets to be in place in the city center from April to November.