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Bowling Green City Leaders Vote to Sue Over Controversial Downtown Project

Lisa Autry

The Bowling Green City Commission has voted to pursue legal action related to the once-troubled downtown parking garage wrap. 

The city hired a northern Kentucky law firm last month to investigate potential civil claims over the construction and operation of the property formerly known as Hitcents Park Plaza. 

Slim Nash was the only commissioner to vote against pursuing lawsuits.  He says the city has already spent more than $100,000 for investigations that resulted in no charges.

"We've had private attorneys, the state auditor, the attorney general, the commonwealth's attorney, and the FBI all look into this and nobody's made a move," Nash told WKU Public Radio.Under former developer, Mills Family Realty, financial problems closed two of the restaurants in the wrap and resulted in liens on the property.  Mayor Bruce Wilkerson is more optimistic that the city can recoup taxpayer dollars through legal action.

"I want to make sure everyone knows it has nothing to do with the current ownership or how it's being run, but in the original development," Wilkerson stated after Tuesday's city commission meeting.

Thirty-million dollars in bonds were sold by Warren County to pay off the liens and debt on the property.  A different developer completed unfinished construction on the project.  Now called Stadium Park Plaza, the property is under new ownership.

Mayor Wilkerson says the city is still working with attorneys to determine which parties to sue. 

Commissioner Nash says he fears that ongoing litigation will hamper downtown redevelopment.

Lisa is a Scottsville native and WKU alum. She has worked in radio as a news reporter and anchor for 18 years. Prior to joining WKU Public Radio, she most recently worked at WHAS in Louisville and WLAC in Nashville. She has received numerous awards from the Associated Press, including Best Reporter in Kentucky. Many of her stories have been heard on NPR.
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