Outside media coverage of Mill Creek MetroParks

Mill Creek MetroParks announces road closures for winter months

Mill Creek Park is closing off a few roads to vehicular traffic for the winter months effective Dec. 8.

Chestnut Hill Drive (between Canfield Road and the Kirkmere Spur), High Drive (between the Kirkmere Spur and West Cohasset Drive) and Calvary Run Drive (between Belle Vista Avenue and Milton Avenue) will be closed off.

By closing them to vehicular traffic, the roads can then become available for winter activities, like cross-country skiing, sledding and hiking.

The park also plans to cut costs associated with snow and ice removal by closing the roads. It will also help reduce the negative environmental impacts from de-icing salt.

The roads will reopen in the spring depending on weather conditions.

View the full article at wkbn.com

Mill Creek roads to close for the winter

Mill Creek MetroParks is preparing for winter and closing several roadways. 

Beginning Friday, December 8th, park visitors will not be able to use the following streets: 

•      Chestnut Hill Drive between Canfield Road and the Kirkmere Spur
•      High Drive between the Kirkmere Spur and West Cohasset Drive
•      Calvary Run Drive between Belle Vista Avenue and Milton Avenue

While closed to traffic, these roads are available for recreational use for hiking, cross-country skiing, and sledding. 

According to the park, the benefits of winter road closures include cost savings associated with snow/ice removal as well as a reduction of negative environmental impacts from deicing salt. 

In the winter months, snow and ice can create slippery roadway conditions. 

Park officials say roads with limited shoulders, lack of guardrails and steep grades can become increasingly hazardous for motorists. 

All roads will reopen in the spring when weather permits.

View the full article at wfmj.com

Over $250K in upgrades complete at Mill Creek Golf Course

Mill Creek MetroParks just finished up a major upgrade to the Mill Creek Golf Course.

The improvements were made on the South Course bunkers, the cart staging area and the field house. The restoration project cost over $250,000.

The bunker restoration project addressed 36 bunkers throughout Mill Creek’s South Course. Work included excavation of existing sand and soil, installation of new conduit and gravel for improved drainage, and installation of new sand and sod. That part of the project was done by Golf Preservations, Incorporated for $219,870.

The cart staging area project included construction of two additional parking bays for golf carts. The project included excavation and demolition work, installation of new concrete parking bays, a concrete plaza and asphalt cart paths, along with additional soil and drainage work. The $58,787.50 project was awarded to Parella-Pannunzio, Inc.

View the full article at wytv.com.

Fellows Riverside Gardens transforms into “Toyland” for annual “Winter Celebration”

Bright colors, sparkling lights and whimsical displays will greet anyone who visits Fellows Riverside Gardens this month.

The Gardens’ annual Winter Celebration runs through Dec. 31.

After a couple of years featuring more natural themes, such as last year’s focus on Mill Creek MetroParks’ 125th anniversary, Gardens staff and volunteers opted for something a little more playful with this year’s “Toyland” theme.

Toys, both modern and vintage, are on display. Giant game pieces and 10-foot toy soldiers line windows and walls. More than 50 trees, decorated by different Mahoning Valley organizations, adorn the building. Also, visitors are invited to play with some of the displays.

“This is very interactive for children. We have different stations throughout the building where kids can play with blocks,” said Andrew Pratt, Mill Creek MetroParks gardens director. “What I like about it is, it has a nostalgic feel to it so people of all ages can see some of the vintage toys we have, and young children can come and see some of the more modern toys.”

MetroParks volunteers and staff were hard at work this week decorating the D.D. and Velma Davis Education & Visitor Center.

Planning for the event, however, dates back to the summer. Since then, a group of volunteers met twice a week to organize for Winter Celebration.

Among them was Sharmon Lesnak of Youngstown, whose professional background makes her an ideal person to help decorate for the holidays. Lesnak worked for 43 years in visual merchandising, preparing displays for department stores such as Strouss and Macy’s.

“There is a science to colors and how you present things. I just drew on all of those things,” said Lesnak, who helped devise the “Toyland” theme. “I just enjoy the creative process, and if I can make somebody smile, it’s all worthwhile.”

The process is creative, indeed – Pratt estimated that approximately 75 percent of the display items were hand-crafted by volunteers.

In addition to decorations in the visitor center, trees in the Gardens will be decorated and lights will be on display.

A number of other holiday events are scheduled at the Gardens, as well. For a full schedule, visit www.millcreekmetroparks.org.

Breakfast with Santa, hosted by Inspired Catering by Kravitz, will take place Saturday. Seats are still available at the 9 and 11:30 a.m. events.

Fellows is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday, with hours extended to 7 p.m. Saturdays this month for Winter Celebration Nights.

Pratt encouraged people to stop by the Gardens to check out the holiday festivities.

“It’s fun. It’s festive. It’s the holidays, and it’s just a good time of the year to come out here,” he said.

View the full article at vindy.com

New restroom open at Mill Creek boat launch

Bikers, hikers and other people enjoying Mill Creek MetroParks have a new spot to stop at when nature calls.

A new comfort station is now open at the East Newport Boat Launch.

This concrete vault restroom and concrete walkway meets Americans with Disabilities Act accessibility guidelines and addresses the need for a restroom facility at the boat launch as well as the East Newport Hike & Bike Trail.

The total cost of the improvements is approximately $28,000.

View the full article at wfmj.com

Unifying Youngstown through art

Unity is the theme of a Youngstown City Schools Visual and Performing Arts project that will soon be showcased at Fellows Riverside Gardens.

“Each building is making a collaborative painting,” explained Tracy Schuler Vivo, school district Visual and Performing Art coordinator. “It brings everyone together in the district.”

Students in both elementary and high schools had the opportunity to contribute to the Unity Project, painting in their own way on 3-foot by 4-foot canvases donated by the TIMBRE Group of Youngstown.

There will be 12 paintings total.

The paintings are set to be on display at Mill Creek MetroPark’s Fellows Riverside Garden Davis Center from Jan. 9-31. An open reception to meet the students and teachers behind the project will be at the Davis Center from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Jan. 16.

Each painting will be accompanied by a quote explaining each building’s take on unity.

For example, Martin Luther King Elementary’s piece titled “Creating Together” is accompanied by art teacher Christine Williams’s quote, “Together we create.”

The piece is made up of a series of lines, symbols, letters and more – each from every art student in kindergarten through eighth grade.

Quenci Duckworth, 8, said her symbol was based on her goals for the future – to be a beautician.

She was excited to share a piece of herself with everyone else.

“I like that we all get to do this together because we’ve never done something like this before,” Quenci said.

Williams echoed Quenci’s sentiment.

“The kids like seeing a visual representation of their drawing in with the whole project,” she said. “It’s just nice – the fact that everyone is included, and we get to show the community that we are all part of something together.”

Other projects include visual representations of the blending of various cultures.

Choffin Career and Technical Center’s project, titled “Unity has no boundaries,” is accompanied by the following message: “When we have unity in our neighborhoods and communities, we can move barriers, mountains and even the world.

“Streets can become endless and the fences and barriers that once divided us no longer can be seen in our sights.”

The painting displays a road, with fence posts on each side and a white and black hand joining in the center sleeved with flags from several nations.

For information about the VPA Unity Project or VPA, contact Schuler Vivo at 330-744-8830 or Tracy.Schuler-Vivo@youngstown.k12.oh.us.

View the full article at vindy.com

New restroom open at Mill Creek boat launch

Bikers, hikers and other people enjoying Mill Creek MetroParks have a new spot to stop at when nature calls.

A new comfort station is now open at the East Newport Boat Launch.

This concrete vault restroom and concrete walkway meets Americans with Disabilities Act accessibility guidelines and addresses the need for a restroom facility at the boat launch as well as the East Newport Hike & Bike Trail.

The total cost of the improvements is approximately $28,000.

View the full article at wkbn.com

Over $250K in upgrades complete at Mill Creek Golf Course

Mill Creek MetroParks just finished up a major upgrade to the Mill Creek Golf Course.

The improvements were made on the South Course bunkers, the cart staging area and the field house. The restoration project cost over $250,000.

The bunker restoration project addressed 36 bunkers throughout Mill Creek’s South Course. Work included excavation of existing sand and soil, installation of new conduit and gravel for improved drainage, and installation of new sand and sod. That part of the project was done by Golf Preservations, Incorporated for $219,870.

The cart staging area project included construction of two additional parking bays for golf carts. The project included excavation and demolition work, installation of new concrete parking bays, a concrete plaza and asphalt cart paths, along with additional soil and drainage work. The $58,787.50 project was awarded to Parella-Pannunzio, Inc.

View the full article at wkbn.com

The Olde Fashioned Christmas returns to Lanterman’s Mill

It didn’t take long.

Thanksgiving is over and the Santa Claus sightings have begun, beginning at the Olde Fashioned Christmas at Mill Creek MetroPark’s Lanterman’s Mill on Saturday.

For the past 30 years, the Olde Fashioned Christmas at Lanterman’s Mill has served as the holiday-season kickoff event for families across the Mahoning Valley. The 172-year-old mill was decorated in hand-crafted pine wreaths and swags, with the interior hosting dozens of poinsettia plants’ vendors and, naturally, Santa.

A group of volunteers spent Thursday and Friday setting up the mill for the event, cleaning and dusting and collecting pine boughs for the outdoor decorations. Each of the swags adorning the outside of the mill was created by mixing pine bough varieties and were assembled by hand.

By 3 p.m. Saturday, Maureen Weetman, the Mill Creek MetroParks’ program and event coordinator, said more than 4,300 individuals had visited the mill, and she expected to see more than 5,000 visitors by the end of Saturday. She said she expected similar numbers today when the event continues from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Weetman also said the majority of the event’s 15 vendors were longtime veterans of the Olde Fashioned Christmas, and that the event falling on Small Business Saturday was a “happy coincidence.”

Inside the mill, the plucks of guitar strings and the organlike tones of an accordion carried holiday tunes throughout the building while visitors meandered among the vendors.

Of the vendors in the basement of the mill were Ed Lipp, from New Castle, Pa., who had a selection of hand-crafted birdhouses available for sale, and Linda Szmara, displaying a collection of meticulously detailed painted rocks.

Lipp’s birdhouses were made from reclaimed material – sewer pipes, PVC tubing, old boots – and were painted, each showing off a different texture pattern across the front. Many of the houses were topped with copper, though a few sported A-frame slate roofs instead.

Szmara’s stones were painted to resemble animals – mice, rabbits and raccoons, among others – with some images so accurately rendered it would not be difficult to mistake her creations for the real thing.

She is a 10-year veteran of the event, and says she has met individuals from across the country while selling her creations during the Olde Fashioned Christmas.

“I have a lot of repeat customers,” she said. “Being so close to Thanksgiving, this event attracts a lot of out-of-town visitors, too, so I see people from all over who remember my booth here and stop by to see me year after year.”

Scott Lanz, a local photographer, had more than a dozen canvas photo prints capturing the beauty of Mill Creek Park available for purchase, as well as post cards and holiday cards bearing his work. He said the event was a way for visitors to connect with the park and celebrate the nostalgia of whatever era of Youngstown they experienced as the mill has stood through it all.

“I had a woman today who has a relative who grew up in Youngstown that lives in Arizona. She got her a holiday card with a photo of the mill covered in snow to send to her,” he said. “People like those little bits of nostalgia.”

Outside the mill, Ray Novotny, a former 30-plus year naturalist at the park and now a volunteer, was roasting chestnuts for visitors to sample.

Novotny, who has been the event’s chestnut cook for more than 12 years, said people’s reactions when trying the nuts for the first time is almost universally “delightful surprise.”

Tim and Susan Leetch of Boardman attended with their son Owen.

“It’s tradition,” Susan Leetch, who had attended for the past 14 years, said. “It seems to get better every year. Always a little different, but mostly the same.”

View the full article at vindy.com

Kids mingle with Santa at Mill Creek farm in Canfield

Santa made a stop at the Mill Creek MetroParks Farm in Canfield Sunday afternoon.

Kids had a chance to get their picture taken with Santa or a check out a reindeer and other animals for free.

Organizers said this event is very weather dependent.

But this year, Mother Nature cooperated and the farm got a nice crowd.

“We noticed people as they’re coming in — they’re meeting in the parking lot,” said Brenda Markley, agriculture education manager. “So it’s like grandma, grandpa driving separately, aunts and uncles, cousins. So it’s kind of a family gathering thing and they’re all coming together to watch the kids with Santa and the animals.”

For just a dollar, the kids could make an ornament to hang on the Christmas tree.