Outside media coverage of Mill Creek MetroParks

Pumpkin Walk helps visitors get into Halloween spirit

“Kunkins” are what 3-year-old Owen Dobbins of Lordstown dubbed the stars of the Pumpkin Walk at Twilight 2017 on Sunday at Mill Creek MetroParks’ Fellows Riverside Gardens.

Owen particularly liked the pumpkins carved in the likenesses of Anna and Elsa, characters in Disney’s animated film “Frozen,” said his mother, Ashley Dobbins. She and her friend Cody Griffin of Austintown praised the event for being family-oriented – “something to do for kids and families.”

They were among thousands who, despite the threat of inclement weather, found their way to the 12th annual Pumpkin Walk at Twilight and strolled around the grounds admiring the scary and skillfully carved Halloween pumpkins on display.

Andrew Pratt, Fellows Riverside Gardens director, said about 10,000 attended the event in 2016 and estimated this year’s Pumpkin Walk featured about 1,500 pumpkins.

For those who missed Sunday’s Pumpkin Walk, the pumpkins will be on display for a few more days, depending on the weather, said Lynn Zocolo, a park educator.

In addition to the pumpkins, the gardens hosted several activities including a pumpkin-carving demonstration and entertainment by local singer/song writer JD Eicher, who sang and played the acoustical guitar and harmonica in the musical mode of James Taylor and John Mayer.

Mike and Mari Kocjancic of Boardman and their children – Lily and Maddy, both 6, Sophie, 5, and Deacon, 3 – were first-time visitors to the Pumpkin Walk. “The kids love pumpkins and Halloween,” Mari said.

Danielle Mellott and Shane Miller, both of New Castle, Pa., learned of the Pumpkin Walk during a visit to Lanterman’s Mill in the park earlier in the day and decided to stay for the event, which ran from 5:30 to 8 p.m.

“I like scary things,” Mellott said.

“Inspiring” is how Julie Shaw of Edinburg, Pa., described the carved pumpkins. “They give me lots of ideas,” said Shaw, who came to the event with her children – Ryder, 8, Barrett, 4, and Carter, 2 – and the children’s grandparents, Jeff and Pam Shaw of Harlansburg, Pa.

Beth and Jesse Troy of Cornersburg said they enjoyed Pumpkin Walk 2016 immensely and made sure to come back for this year’s event. They love to take pictures of the pumpkins and show them via Skype to their grandchildren in California.

“I love the ambience when the torches are lighted. The walk is beautiful,” said Beth.

Campbell Municipal Court Judge Patrick Cunning attended the event with several family members, including his granddaughters – Diana Cunning, who turned 1 Saturday, and Caroline Rankin, 6 months.

“It’s an outstanding family event. It’s magical,” the judge said.

View the full article at vindy.com

Enjoy Halloween activities this weekend at Mill Creek Park


Halloween is just a few weeks away and if you haven’t started carving pumpkins yet, there’s a way you can do it today for free.

From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., you can head over to Fellows Riverside Gardens in Mill Creek Park to carve a pumpkin. Carving will be in the Service Building.

You can either bring your own pumpkin or carve one that the park will provide. They will also provide carving tools if you don’t have any.

The pumpkins will then be displayed at the park’s Pumpkin Walk at Twilight on Sunday, starting at 5:30 p.m. until 8 p.m.

The walk is also located at Fellows Riverside Gardens, located at 123 McKinley Avenue.

Tomorrow, families can enjoy live entertainment and activities.

View the full article at wkbn.com

More than 1,000 carved pumpkins to light paths at Fellows gardens

“I love to carve pumpkins!” exclaimed Penelope Roush, 5.

Her enthusiasm was matched by her brother, Parker, 8, as the two took part in pumpkin carving at Fellows Riverside Gardens this week ahead of Sunday’s Pumpkin Walk at Twilight.

Sitting next to Penelope, Parker eagerly carved a Batman-themed design into a massive pumpkin.

“You might want to put in the newspaper how fast I am,” he said proudly.

The two were there with their great-grandmother, Sue Newman of Liberty. The three will be back Sunday with their whole family. As dusk sets in, they’ll be on the look out for their creations lining the gardens’ paths.

“It’s a wonderful event,” Newman said. “It’s beautiful. When they’re all lit up, it’s breathtaking.”

Parker and Penelope’s pumpkin masterpieces will be among 1,000 to 2,000 that will be on display Sunday. Pumpkin carving continues today and Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the gardens service building. People are invited to come out and carve, with pumpkins provided by the MetroParks.

“It’s 15,000 pounds of pumpkins we got this year,” said gardens Director Andrew Pratt.

On Sunday, all of them will be set up along the gardens’ winding paths. Over the years, the pumpkin walk has become a popular event. Even with rain in the forecast, Pratt said he expects a turnout of about 10,000 people.

“It think it’s becoming a family attraction. It really brings people out,” he said.

Adding to the fun will be local musician JD Eicher and family-friendly activities. Cider and apples also will be available.

The event begins at 5:30 p.m. and runs until 8. Pratt suggested that visitors show up early, as the gardens’ parking lot fills up quickly. Additional parking will be available at a nearby church off Mahoning Avenue and on the streets adjacent to the gardens.

Among those who plan to turn out Sunday are Gina DiGiovanni of Warren and Leanne Lee of Girard, who were carving pumpkins Thursday.

This year marked DiGiovanni’s first time participating in the carving. She plans to bring her two kids Sunday.

“Halloween is my favorite season, and I just wanted to help out,” she said, estimating that she’d already carved 10 pumpkins. “I love Mill Creek MetroParks.”

Lee, who skillfully carved an abstract design into her pumpkin, has been to the pumpkin walk several times before.

“I love to come take pictures of all the people walking through and the lights,” she said.

“It’s just a really nice atmosphere.”

View the full article at vindy.com

Fall color blast delayed but coming soon

The temperatures may not be feeling very fall-like, but the changing leaves tell a different story.

Some color changes are happening in the Valley, but it’s not at peak just yet.

Lynn Zocolo, educator at Mill Creek MetroParks, said there are some pops of color throughout the park, but the peak foliage is a bit later than last year, by about a week or so.

Temperatures play a big role in the change. Cool, crisp nights help the leaves turn colors, and the Valley has been unseasonably warm for the start of fall.

“We are starting to see pops of color around the park, little pockets here and there. However, peak foliage is predicted to be next week, toward the end of the week,” Zocolo said.

Some trees that turned early are already dropping leaves, and that is a sign of stress, Zocolo says.

“We had a long, dry, hot summer, so the leaves that have been turning since the end of August and the beginning of September, those trees are a little stressed because of the weather conditions and such,” Zocolo said.

Once peak foliage hits, there should be a few weeks to enjoy the color before the leaves drop, but that also depends on the weather. Rain and wind can bring the leaves down faster.

View the full article at wkbn.com

MetroParks announces plan to bring street hockey rink to Wick Recreation Area

Mill Creek MetroParks announced Friday it is partnering with the Youngstown Phantoms hockey team and the Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation to bring a street-hockey rink to the James L. Wick Recreation Area on the city’s West Side.

According to a news release, plans are in the works to renovate the former ice-skating rink at the Wick Recreation Area into a space for what’s called “Dek Hockey.”

Dek Hockey is a variation of ice hockey in which the game is played using a ball, either outdoors on foot or with inline skates.

The MetroParks noted the project coincides with the 50-year anniversary in February of the ice-skating rink opening at Wick Recreation Area and comes 15 years after that rink closed in 2002.

For the past several years, the MetroParks has offered ice-skating opportunities in other areas, such as at the Lily Pond and the volleyball courts at Wick Recreation Area.

“Partnerships like these are going to allow us to increase recreational opportunities to our park visitors. This opportunity gives us the ability to link past history of the former ice rink to a new form of recreation that is growing in popularity,” said Aaron Young, MetroParks executive director.

The project’s timeline has not been determined, park officials said.

The Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation and its partners will cover the costs and manage installation of the rink, according to the MetroParks. The project is at no cost to the MetroParks.

View the full article at vindy.com

Mill Creek ice rink goes blue for hockey

Mill Creek MetroParks is partnering with the Youngstown Phantoms Hockey Team and the Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation to renovate the former ice skating rink. 

The plan is to turn the former ice rink at the Wick Recreation Area into a street hockey rink, also known as Dek Hockey.  

It’s usually blue in color and players can use inline skates or just regular sneakers to hit a ball into the nets.

The goal is to provide an additional four-season form of recreation for both youths and adults.

The project comes 15 years after the closing of the original skating rink in 2002. 

View the full article at wfmj.com

Mill Creek aids those with mobility challenges

Mill Creek Park hosted an event to encourage those with mobility challenges to walk the East Golf Hike Bike Trail on Aug. 31.

Dr. Nicole Mullins created the “Let’s Move! A Walk for Those with Mobility Challenges“ event for those who may have any troubles walking. Mullins, a doctor of exercise science at Youngstown State University, brought her students to help encourage people to walk the trail and live healthy lifestyles.

“Even if it hurts, it’s better to move,“ she said. She brought papers to pass out with research information on it. She explained that walking and moving will help both physically and emotionally, as exercise positively affects moods.

Mullins own bilateral hip dysplasia injury inspired her to make an event to help people with other movement challenges. She had trouble moving but needed to work to get herself back into walking shape. During this time, she could only walk a little and used walking poles to take pressure off her pain points.

She also found another program called “Walk with a Doc,“ set up for those with movement challenges to walk and also have someone present to answer their questions. While not doctors, Mullins and her students have information on exercise and health to help others.

Carol Vigorito, the Recreation and Education Director of Mill Creek Metroparks, discussed how the program first got started. She said that Mullins had contacted Mill Creek through email asking to create the event. Vigorito said that the parks were happy to collaborate on this fantastic opportunity.

Mullins does not expect everyone to go the same amount because everyone has different abilities and health. Instead, she asks that everyone puts forth effort and walks as much as they want. The walkers should create their own goals after seeing what their current abilities are.

The group welcomes anyone who wants to walk to join. She explained that a walker in the past had worried about feeling silly about getting out and walking, so Mullins puts forth effort to help alleviate that worry. Her students help anyone on a walk and placed encouraging messages along the trail.

More information on the group and the event can be found at Mill Creek Park’s event page at www.millcreekmetroparks.org/events/. The group welcomes anyone no matter the mobility need, stating that walkers may use canes, walking poles or other equipment.

View the full article at vindy.com

Mill Creek Park announces big change to its ice rink

Mill Creek Park is teaming with the Youngstown Phantoms and the Pittsburgh Penguins to make the change

Ice skating, Mill Creek Park. Jan. 21, 2016
Ice skating at the rink at Mill Creek Park’s Wick Recreation Area. Jan. 21, 2016

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Changes are coming to Mill Creek Parks’ former ice skating rink at the Wick Recreation Area.Mill Creek MetroParks announced that it is teaming with the Youngstown Phantoms and the Pittsburgh Penguins to turn the ice rink into a street hockey rink.

This would be a four-season rink, meaning that it can be used year-round.

The park hopes this change gives people more options throughout the year.

The ice rink reopened last year where the old volleyball courts once were located.

Read the original story at wkbn.com

Road Closure

West Newport Drive in Mill Creek Park is closed for a road-improvement project. The project consists of improvements to West Newport from Canfield Road to the Hampton Drive entrance, according to a news release. Mill Creek MetroParks aims to improve storm-water drainage and road surface conditions. The project is expected to last about one month.


View the full article at vindy.com

Roads in Mill Creek Park closing for repairs

West Newport Drive in Mill Creek Park is closing this week for a road improvement project. 

The project will improve stormwater drainage and surface conditions between West Newport Drive from Canfield Road to the Hampton Drive entrance. 

It will also include curbing repair, shoulder grading, and pavement planning. 

The project is estimated to cost close to $190,000 and is set to be completed by November 3. 

View the full article at wfmj.com