Local runner raises money to donate back to Mill Creek Metroparks

A Niles runner has recently fulfilled a 20-year dream.

Bo Marchionte celebrated his 20 year anniversary on January 4, for running the trails every day in all weather conditions.

Mill Creek officials say Marchionte logged 10 or more miles a day.

About two weeks before his anniversary, Marchionte’s wife and friend decided to raise money and donate it back to Mill Creek MetroParks Foundation in honor of his love for the trails. 

“I am amazed at the long-term effort and dedication brought forth by Bo. We are honored to accept this donation on his behalf. With the MetroParks newly established endowment fund, this donation will aide in the continued enhancement of the MetroParks trail system for the enjoyment of our park visitors,” says Aaron Young, Executive Director of Mill Creek MetroParks. 

The Primanti Brothers in Niles held a fund raising event from January 4-7, where a percentage of sales were donated.

In just two weeks, the family was able to donate over $5,000, breaking the original goal of $2,500.

On Thursday, Marchionte and his family presented a check in the amount of $5,258. The check is the first contribution to the Trail Endowment Fund at Mill Creek MetroParks. 

Park officials say the purpose of the fund is to provide the maintenance and care of the trails.

“I love the park and running the trails there. I am thrilled the contributions on my behalf will be the kickoff of this endowment”, says Marchionte.

View the full article at wfmj.com

Local Runner Raises Money for Mill Creek MetroParks Trails

Niles resident, Bo Marchionte, had a vision 20 years ago to run every day without missing a day. He ran in the park 90% of the time through all the weather elements logging 10 miles or more on most days. With just 2 weeks to go until his 20 year anniversary date of January 4, 2018, his wife Wendy and longtime friend Tony Perrone wanted to do something special to mark the day. With Perrone’s expertise in fund raising they decided to raise money and make a donation to the Mill Creek MetroParks Foundation in honor of Bo’s love for the trails in Mill Creek. Also, the Primanti Brothers, Niles location, held a fund raising event from January 4 – 7 where a percentage of sales were donated. In just 2 short week’s donations from family, friends and local businesses tallied up to $5,258.91, breaking their original goal of $2,500. On January 18, 2018, Marchionte, along with family and friends, presented a check in the amount of $5,258.91 to serve as the first contribution to the Trail Endowment Fund at Mill Creek MetroParks. “I love the park and running the trails there. I am thrilled the contributions on my behalf will be the kickoff of this endowment”, says Marchionte.

“I am amazed at the long-term effort and dedication brought forth by Bo. We are honored to accept this donation on his behalf. With the MetroParks newly established endowment fund, this donation will aide in the continued enhancement of the MetroParks trail system for the enjoyment of our park visitors,” says Aaron Young, Executive Director of Mill Creek MetroParks. “This is a great example of setting a goal and working hard to make an impact with friends and family supporting you along the way.”

The purpose of the Trail Endowment Fund is to provide for the perpetual maintenance and care of MetroParks trails. Those wishing to contribute to the Trail Endowment Fund can contact Chris Litton, Director of Development at Litton@millcreekmetroparks.org.

Mill Creek MetroParks PGA Director of Golf recognized by the PGA of America

Mill Creek MetroParks PGA Director of Golf, Brian Tolnar, becomes the 136th Certified PGA Professional in the country. The Certified Professional Program (2.0) is a valuable achievement in a learning strategy aimed at improving PGA Professionals proficiency and advancing facility opportunities. The program is the PGA of America’s career enhancing educational curriculum that supports the goals of the PGA members who are committed to continuously improving their business skills to meet the increasing demands of the golf industry. The PGA of America currently offers four certification career paths: Player Development, Golf Operations, Golf Facility Management and Teaching & Coaching. Each career path consist of 35+ business courses, industry related project and a thesis capstone paper submission for program completion.

“I’m excited to bring some of the skills I have acquired in the education program back to Mill Creek this season. It is always a positive anytime an opportunity presents itself to expand a skill set. This gives me the ability to advance offerings and services, along with keeping on top of industry trends. Our golf staff works very hard to keep our programming fresh and exciting and I’m looking forward to assisting them in the continual growth and popularity of our golf programs,” says Brian Tolnar, PGA Director of Golf. This makes Tolnar 1 of only 2 golf professionals certified in the state of Ohio for Player Development in the PGA of America.

Ford Nature guests make bird feeders and hike

Participants visited the Ford Nature Center on Dec. 28 for the “Joy to the Birds“ program, where they made small bird feeders and took a small hike.

Marilyn Williams, a naturalist with Mill Creek Metroparks, welcomed the guests to the center and demonstrated the two types of bird feeders they made during the day.

They began the event by creating starting at one of the two stations to make the bird feeders. For one of the feeders, they tied a string to a pine cone so that it could hang from a tree. They then could spread peanut butter, lard or both on the pinecones. They added sunflower seeds, which stuck to the peanut butter and lard.

The other bird feeder had the guests put food on a pipe cleaner and bend the pipe cleaner in a ring, so the feeder will hang on a tree. The types of food offered to place on the pipe cleaner included Cheerios, grapes, nuts, apples and cranberries.

While the participants worked on their feeders, Williams told the visitors some other ways to help animals during the winter. The overwinter birds need shelter and water along with their food, so one could make a brush bile for their shelter and heat their bird bath to keep the water going through the winter.

After the group finished making the feeders, they went outside to place the feeders on their evergreen tree outside. All guests made multiple feeders, and some chose to take some of their creations home with them to feed the birds out there.

They finished the day off with a small hike down the East Cohasset Hike & Bike Trail. Everyone wore heavy coats and gloves to stay warm on the hike.

View the full article at vindy.com

Sebring Woods parking lot provides access to hiking trail

As part of the MetroParks’ ongoing capital improvement initiative, Mill Creek MetroParks is pleased to announce the completed construction of a 20-vehicle aggregate parking lot at the Sebring Woods facility in the Village of Sebring.

The new parking lot is located on North Johnson Road and provides access to a 0.7-mile primitive hiking trail loop. The primitive trail loop features two natural creek crossings and meanders through a variety of habitats, including wooded wetlands and upland forests.

Along with future projects to be completed in early 2018, the addition of the parking lot provides visitors easier access and enhances the overall user experience at Sebring Woods.

Sebring Woods is the MetroParks’ westernmost facility in Mahoning County. Situated at the intersection of Courtney Road and North Johnson Road, the 39-acre preserve was established in 2010 with a grant through the Clean Ohio Conservation Fund.

Sebring Woods consists primarily of floodplain forest and wooded wetlands interspersed with open marsh and upland habitats. Fish Creek, a tributary to the Mahoning River, meanders through the property and helps create and maintain the wet conditions throughout the year.

In May 2010, staff and volunteers from the MetroParks, Cleveland Museum of Natural History and Northeast Ohio Naturalists performed an inventory of Sebring Woods and discovered three plant species that had not been previously documented in Mahoning County. Other rare plants and insects were also observed, as well as a large variety of more common wildflowers and songbirds.

To explore, experience and enjoy Mill Creek MetroParks, visit www.millcreekmetroparks.org or call 330-702-3000. Like metroparks on Facebook at (Mill Creek MetroParks) and follow on Twitter (@MillCreekMetro) and Instagram (millcreekmetroparks).

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Mill Creek MetroParks completes parking lot in Sebring

Mill Creek MetroParks announced the completion of a new 20-vehicle aggregate parking lot at Sebring Woods in the village.

The new lot is located on North Johnson Road and provides access to a 0.7-mile primitive hiking trail loop, according to a news release. The loop features two natural creek crossings and goes through a variety of habitats.

View the full article at vindy.com

Mill Creek announces completion of new parking lot in Sebring

A new 20-vehicle aggregate parking lot is now complete at the Sebring Woods facility in Mill Creek Metroparks.

The new parking lot is located on North Johnson Road in Sebring and now provides access to a 0.7-mile primitive hiking trail loop.

Officials say the new parking lot will provide easier access to Sebring Woods, at the intersection of Courtney Road and North Johnson Road.

Sebring Woods consists of forest wetlands, fish creek, the Mahoning River and hiking trail loops.

View the full article at wfmj.com

New Aggregate Parking Lot at Sebring Woods

As part of the MetroParks’ ongoing capital improvement initiative, Mill Creek MetroParks is pleased to announce the completed construction of a 20-vehicle aggregate parking lot at the Sebring Woods facility in the Village of Sebring. The new parking lot is located on North Johnson Road and provides access to a 0.7-mile primitive hiking trail loop. This primitive trail loop features two natural creek crossings and meanders through a variety of habitats, including wooded wetlands and upland forests. Along with future projects to be completed in early 2018, the addition of the parking lot provides visitors easier access and enhances the overall user experience at Sebring Woods.

Mill Creek MetroParks board approves 2018 budget

The 2018 Mill Creek MetroParks budget the park board approved this week was made with operational efficiency in mind, MetroParks Executive Director Aaron Young said.

“For 2018, our main priority is making sure that the MetroParks’ operating budget reflects our commitment to being efficient stewards of taxpayer dollars, and I think this budget does exactly that,” he said.

The board approved a budget featuring just under $11.8 million in general-fund appropriations. Last year, the budget included $12.4 million in general-fund appropriations.

Total appropriations for this year, including just under $4.7 million from the park’s replacement reserve fund and $10,000 from a law-enforcement assistance fund, are $16.4 million.

Also reduced in this year’s budget are employee wages and salaries. The MetroParks budgeted about $6 million for wages and salaries this year, compared with about $6.3 million in the 2016 budget and $6.2 million in the 2017 budget.

“Salaries and wages were reduced by 3 percent as compared to 2017. That’s even after a two percent board-approved increase for all employees,” Young said, referring to raises granted in 2016.

Young said that was achieved by measures such as keeping a closer eye on employees’ hours.

He said the MetroParks also sought to trim spending in other areas, such as reducing the vehicle fleet from more than 80 in 2015 to about 63 today.

“We are continuing to evaluate everything from our fleet to our equipment to salaries and wages,” he said.

On the revenue side, the 2018 general-fund budget is similar to last year’s, with just under $7.8 million in general property tax revenue and total general-fund revenue of just under $10.3 million, not taking into account carry-over funds.

Another focus of the 2018 budget is capital improvements. An additional 0.25-mill for capital improvements, which the park began receiving last year after voters approved it in 2015, brings in slightly more than $1 million per year for the 15-year levy cycle. The park has pledged to invest $29 million in capital improvements over that period.

“We’re looking to spend nearly $5.8 million on capital improvements [this year],” Young said, noting a significant portion of that amount will be funded by third-party dollars such as grants and donations.

For example, on the MetroParks’ project list this year is right-of-way acquisition, design and engineering, and construction of the final phase of the MetroParks Bikeway. Much of that project is covered by grant money, including 80 percent of the estimated $3.5 million construction cost.

Also budgeted this year are annual improvements such as parking lot and trail maintenance; completion of a project to restore the wheel at Lanterman’s Mill; and improvements at numerous sites including the Lake Newport boat launch, Fellows Riverside Gardens, the north golf course, Scholl and Wick recreation areas, Mill Creek Wildlife Sanctuary and others.

“We have a lot of projects that should, and hopefully will, provide park visitors with the level of excitement we’ve been talking about for some time now,” Young said.

“We’re pleased with where we’re headed,” he added. “It’s an exciting time for the MetroParks.”

View the full article at vindy.com

Mill Creek MetroParks improvement project announced

Mill Creek MetroParks is asking for public comment for an upcoming improvement project. 

A rehabilitation project was proposed to resurface 1.53 miles of existing asphalt concrete.on the southern section of West Newport Dr. from Sheban Dr. to Hampton Dr. 

West Newport Dr. is located in the Historic District of Mill Creek Park, stretching from Sheban Drive to Canfield Road (Route 62). 

Additional improvements include the restoration of aggregate roadway shoulders and the reapplication of pavement markings. 
 
The transportation improvement is scheduled for construction in the summer of 2018. 

The estimated construction cost is about $289,190 with $126,933 being funded through ODOT’s Park District Road Improvement Fund.  

During project construction, West Newport Dr. will remain open to pedestrian and bicycle traffic at all times, but will be closed to all vehicular traffic from Sheban Dr. to Hampton Dr.  

A detour route will be provided. 

Construction, lane restriction, roadway closure and detour information will be posted along West Newport Dr. and on the Mill Creek MetroParks website before the construction begins.  

Parking lots for the Newport Wetlands and the West Newport Drive Picnic Area will be closed to vehicular traffic.

However, these facilities will remain open and will be accessible to pedestrians and bicyclists at all times during project construction. 
 
To ensure the proposed project is viable and successful, Mill Creek Metro Parks is seeking comments from the public about the social, environmental, and economic impacts of this proposed project. 

Environmental impacts include those involving archeological, architectural and ecological resources, regulated materials and the general location of the project. 

Any comments you may have regarding the environmental and/or the proposed project may be submitted by February 9, 2018.

View the full article at wfmj.com