Outside media coverage of Mill Creek MetroParks

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.

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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

Mill Creek MetroParks making changes to improve facilities, sites

Four years ago, Mill Creek MetroParks devised a strategic master plan, part of which included making improvements to the park itself.

This year, that capital improvement plan finally began.

A number of capital improvement projects have been going on throughout the summer and will continue to go on throughout the park.

Aaron Young, executive director of the park district, said a wide variety of projects were completed this summer.

“One of them is the Wet Playground at the Wick Recreation Area. If you’ve been there on a warm summer day like these past few weeks, you’ve seen the kids using that. But we’ve also moved forward with a lot of our infrastructure improvements, from storm water infrastructure and also our roads and bridges,” he said.

Volney Rogers Field also had some improvements made, like it’s tennis courts and the pedestrian walkways that lead to them, along with the walkways that lead to the pickleball and basketball courts.

Currently, work is being done on West Newport Drive and the East Cohasset Hike and Bike Trail.

“Those are some of the improvements that are less sexy or appealing as some of the courts and some of the other recreational opportunities. But, without the infrastructure you can’t get to some of those recreational opportunities … We’re pleased with our progress and we’ve got more to do,” Young said.

Next year, the Mill Creek MetroParks board is planning on moving forward with the future design and renovations of the Ford Nature Center. This design project is focused on bringing the center up to MetroParks standards.

Work will also continue into next year on the extension of the East Cohasset trail.

“We hope to begin construction mid-2018 on the bike trail and that would take that from Western Reserve Road all the way to the Mahoning County/Columbiana County line,” Young said.

Overall, the park’s capital improvement plan is long-term.

“It’s governing the MetroParks for the next levy cycle at a minimum, which is 15 years. So, we’re nine months in to the next 15 years,” Young said.

View the full article at wkbn.com

MetroParks issues advisory on Lake Newport algae

Mill Creek MetroParks is advising park visitors to avoid recreational activities on Lake Newport until further notice due to potentially-harmful algae in the lake.

A MetroParks official said the issue was brought to staff members’ attention Tuesday.

The park district has been in contact with the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency on the issue.

View the full article at vindy.com

Algae on Mill Creek Park lakes to be tested to see if it’s harmful

A large part of Mill Creek Park’s Lake Newport remains covered with thick green algae Wednesday night. Park officials say it’s a direct result of the warm, dry conditions we’ve had the past several weeks.

An algal bloom covered about 20 percent of Lake Newport on Tuesday, confined to an area right up against the dam.

On Wednesday, the algae had broken up. Most of it shifted to one side and now it extends the entire length of Lake Newport.

It’s so thick, it looks like a green covering.

The next step is to have it tested to see if it’s harmful.

“We don’t know whether or not that bright green algae is classified as a harmful algal bloom,” said Mill Creek Park Director Aaron Young.

Ryan Tekac, with the Mahoning County Health Department, said he was notified of the issue on Tuesday.

Both Young and Tekac have been in contact with the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

“At this point, they recommend doing testing,” Tekac said.

The testing could take place on Thursday. It’ll take about two days to get the results, then they’ll decide what — if anything — should be done.

“Not all algal blooms are considered harmful,” Tekac said.

If it turns out to be harmful, the water will need more testing.

Tekac said the algae is a direct result of the recent high temperatures and lack of rain.

Wednesday was the 12th straight day with temperatures above 80 degrees in Youngstown. On Tuesday, it had been 12 days without rain.

“The level that is there now is certainly indicative of the climate conditions that we’ve been experiencing, which is weeks of high temperature and little rainfall,” Young said.

On Wednesday, there were some areas of open water on Lake Newport, which is not totally covered with the algal bloom.

It’s recommended that canoeists and kayakers stay off the lake.

“We’re not going to close them. If they’re adamant about getting in there and recreating, you can still do that at Newport,” Young said. “The algae’s not over the entire surface area but I don’t know how enjoyable it would be paddling within it.”

Lake Cohasset had some spots of algae but none was visible on Lake Glacier. Just to be safe, Young is going to have Glacier tested anyway.

View the full article at wkbn.com

Warm weather and drought sparks algae blooms in Mill Creek MetroPark

Algae bloom in Lake Newport in Mill Creek MetroPark is covering between 20 and 25 percent of the lake.

Officials from the Mahoning County District Board of Health said MetroParks officials noticed the significant growth Tuesday. 

The spark in blooms is most likely because of the warm weather and drought across the Valley.

It’s been 13 days since measurable rain has been recorded in the area.  

The Environmental Protection Agency has been notified.

MetroParks officials will be doing further testing to see if the algae is dangerous. 

Lake Glacier in the park has also shown signs of algae growth. 

Officials said people need to be aware of the blooms, and if they notice something unusual, to stay away from it until further testing is done. 

Wednesday, Senator Rob Portman announced the Senate passed bipartisan legislation, he helped author, called the Harmful Algal Blooms and Hypoxia Research and Control Act (HABHRCA).

Senator Portman worked with Florida Senator Bill Nelson to reauthorize the program in 2014 and negotiated a Great Lakes section that has ensured federal agencies prioritize monitoring and mitigation efforts in freshwater bodies such as Lake Erie.  

“This legislation takes critical steps toward protecting Lake Erie and other freshwater bodies throughout Ohio and the nation from toxic algae.  It is important that these water bodies are protected, as they supply drinking water to millions of Ohioans and are critical for Ohio’s tourism and fishing industries,” said Portman.

View the full article at wfmj.com

Mill Creek Golf Course bunker restoration project to begin

The Mill Creek Golf Course Bunker Restoration Capital Improvement Project is set to begin this week on the South Course. 

The project will include the restoration of 36 bunkers and additional drainage work. 

The South Course will be open for play during the restoration process but may be limited to nine hole play on a few of the days during the restoration process. 

However, the North Course and Practice Facility will remain open for normal play and tee times. 

Golf Preservations Inc. was awarded the project on September 18, 2017.

View the full article at wfmj.com

Mill Creek takes patrons on tour through park

Mill Creek Metroparks offered a trolley ride through different areas of Mill Creek Park to the public on Aug. 25.

Tour guide Lynn Zocolo gave those on the tour interesting facts about the park as the trolley traveled from area to area. The tour started at Fellows Riverside Garden, looped around the park and ended back at the garden. Mill Creek designed the tour as a way for members of the park to notice the changes in season near the end of summer.

The tour started at the garden, headed to Lake Cohasset, in front of the Wall Garden, into the Lily Pond area, by the Birch Hill Cabin, around Pioneer Pavilion’s lot, over the suspension bridge, near Lanterman’s Mill, past Cascade Falls and entered the drive way leading to Judge Morley Pavilion’s parking lot before looping back around.

Zocolo opened the trolley ride with some trivia about the general history of the park. Her first couple of questions revolved around Fellows Riverside Garden since the tour began there. For example, Elizabeth Fellows donated the land to Mill Creek park in 1958 to create a community garden. Then, her trivia dealt with Volney Rogers, the park’s founder.

The trivia became about each area the trolley passed rather than the general history of the park. For instance, while at the Lily Pond, Zocolo explained where the Lily Pond’s nickname, “The Goldfish Pond,“ originated. According to the story, a police officer donated five goldfish to Volney Rogers for the newly opened pond.

The trolley ride provided beautiful sights for the riders. Zocolo showed the tour group notable nature points in the park, but occasionally, the trolley stopped for unplanned sights, such as a couple deer running through the woods and to look at the oldest continually lived in house in Youngstown, which resides next to the park. The group saw other wildlife on the tour as well, including squirrels and a heron.

Other information and history about Mill Creek can be found on their website, millcreekmetroparks.org, or on Zocolo’s other tours. She plans to host tours more often in 2018.


View the full article at vindy.com

Colorful leaves signal more than change of season

We are beginning to see some color in the leaves around the area, but peak season for fall foliage is a few weeks away.

Lynn Zocolo with Mill Creek MetroParks said some leaves are now starting to turn from green to brilliant reds and yellows and other colors, especially further north towards Lake Erie.

Some of the early color is due to environmental stresses trees endured over the course of the summer.

“We had many hot days in a row. We had rain here and there. We had a lot of rain and then a little rain. It was inconsistent, so I think some of the changes we’re starting to see right now are coming from plants and trees that are stressed out. They are reacting to protect themselves,” Zocolo said.

The “near-peak” and “peak” periods for foliage locally should be around the October 1, a little sooner closer to the lake and later further to the south.

View the full article at wkbn.com