There are plenty of public destinations at the city-owned land known as Riverview.
Nestled against the Barren River are the Golf Course at Riverview – soon to be home to the city’s only golf driving range – the Riverview at Hobson Grove historic home museum and Hobson Grove Park.
The problem is getting there.
City officials are now in the planning stages to build a new two-lane road to give more direct access from Veterans Memorial Lane to Riverview.
Currently, the most direct way to get to the area from downtown Bowling Green is to turn off Veterans Memorial Lane to West Main Avenue, wind through a residential and industrial area, make a left on Jackson Street and then an immediate right back onto Main before getting to the property.
A direct road from Veterans Memorial would give direct access to Riverview in a few hundred feet, as opposed to the almost half-mile trek detailed above.
Currently, “it’s hard to get back there, even for Bowling Green residents,” City Engineer Melissa Cansler said.
Someone who can attest to that is Riverview at Hobson Grove Executive Director Brooke Westcott Peterson.
She said the museum has heard from many visitors that they got lost trying to find the home, especially when using GPS directions.
“We have had to email several different mapping companies” to ask them to change the directions, Peterson said.
While the Hobson house has been at the location since the Civil War, a new development on the land has pushed the issue of building a new access road to the forefront.
Earlier this year, the Bowling Green City Commission approved building a driving range at the golf course, a project currently underway and slated to be finished later this year.
The golf course, the oldest of the three the city maintains, is also getting updates, and a pay-for-play disc golf course is also being developed on the land.
“I think it’s good timing,” Cansler said. “I think it’s always been needed. It definitely would give the area a better front door (and) would really help with the utilization” of the course. The driving range and revamped course are expected to draw more people to the area.
While the consensus of city officials has been to move ahead with the road project, the effort is in the preliminary stages.
“We will have to get an agreement with property owners (but) there’s plenty of open land there,” Cansler said. The road could be built adjacent to the former privately owned Parmakers building near the golf course entrance.
“We may need to obtain property from only one or two landowners,” she said. “We have not begun those formal discussions.”
An engineering study determined it may cost about $260,000 to build a two-lane road.
That does not include property acquisition costs.
“We have no idea what that may be,” Cansler said.
Helping keep the cost down would be not needing to do major utility line relocation, she said.
Veterans Memorial Lane is a state road, so the city would also have to work with the state on the project.
Cansler said the project could be done fairly quickly once the process starts, but almost certainly would not be done until next year.
For Peterson, the road can’t come soon enough.
“I think it would be great, especially four our out-of-town visitors,” she said. “A more direct way would definitely be a big win for us.”