Notice of MetroParks Standing Committee Meeting

The next meeting of the Environment Standing Committee to the Board of Park Commissioners of Mill Creek MetroParks is scheduled for Friday, December 15, 2017, at 10 a.m., in Classroom A at the MetroParks Farm, on Rt. 46 in Canfield.

Fellows Riverside Gardens celebrates Christmas season with month full of events


With Christmas just about two weeks away, Fellows Riverside Gardens in Mill Creek MetroParks is continuing to celebrate the holiday season with a month full of events.

For those who registered, children and their families were able to eat breakfast with Santa Saturday morning, catered by Inspired Catering by Kravitz.

Also in the D.D. and Velma Davis Education and Visitor Center, volunteers set up different games — past and present — and toys to create Toyland. Giant game pieces and toy soldiers, Legos, model trains and much more are displayed for all to see. Toyland runs every day for the rest of the month, except Mondays, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Along with Toyland, you can also take a look through the Holiday Tree Walk. About 51 trees are displayed throughout the Davis center, each decorated by a local non-profit organization.

From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Mill Creek Park’s MetroMutts group will host a Jingle Bells Hike starting at Pioneer Pavilion. The hike with your dogs is free, but non-members are asked to donate $2 for refreshments and photos with Santa.

To end the day, participate in Winter Celebration Nights from 5-7 p.m. Check out the outdoor light display, play games with your family and craft for the holidays. Inspired Catering by Kravitz will also serve hot chocolate and cookies. Winter Celebration Nights are every Saturday for the rest of December.

Throughout the day, the Davis Center will accept donations of non-perishable food items for the Second Harvest Food Bank of the Mahoning Valley.

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Fellows Gardens’ Toyland for young, young-at-heart

Toys from generations young and old are filling the halls of the D.D. and Velma Davis Education & Visitor Center at Fellows Riverside Gardens this holiday season.

“The idea is to tie in some nostalgia so that the grandmas, grandpas and parents that come have something to show the kids,” horticulture educator Lynn Zocolo said. “It kind of gives you a warm, fuzzy feeling.”

Fellows, 123 McKinley Ave., is celebrating the holiday season, which runs through Dec. 31, with Toyland, a departure from the center’s nature-oriented themes of the last few years, Zocolo said.

The Davis Center’s interior is decorated with a number of toy- and holiday-themed attractions, and has planned activities for younger patrons, and part of the gardens is decorated with holiday lights.

“It’s for the young and the young-at-heart,” she said.

Read more about it in Sunday’s Vindicator or on

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.

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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.

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Mill Creek MetroParks Winter Road Closures

Effective Friday, December 8, the following roads in Mill Creek Park will be closed to vehicular traffic for the winter:

•      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 

When closed to vehicular traffic, these roads are available for recreational use for hiking, cross country skiing and sledding. Aside from recreational opportunities, 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. All roads will reopen in the spring when weather permits.

In the winter months, snow and ice can create slippery roadway conditions. Roads with limited shoulders, lack of guardrails and steep grades can become increasingly hazardous for motorists. Always use caution when driving on MetroParks roads. For more information about Mill Creek MetroParks, visit our website at or call 330.702.3000.

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.

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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

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.

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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.

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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

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