Outside media coverage of Mill Creek MetroParks

Mill Creek Park closing roads this weekend for race

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Mill Creek MetroParks is closing several roads on Saturday for the YMCA Memorial 5-mile Race.

The following roads will be closed from 7 a.m. until noon:

  • E. Glacier Drive
  • Memorial Hill Drive
  • W. Glacier Drive
  • Price Road

Cars, cyclists and pedestrians will not be allowed to use these roads during this time.

View the full article at wkbn.com

Mill Creek Tees Up Golf Course Upgrades

In the 90 years since Mill Creek Golf Course unveiled its two Donald Ross-designed courses, much has changed both on the courses and around them. And now, projects at the golf courses are underway to restore and improve its facilities.

Right now, the golf course is in the midst of renovating the bunkers for the northern course after showing upgrades to their counterparts on the southern course in late April.

The $510,000 project includes new drainage beneath the bunkers, topped with stone, mesh and, on top, eight inches of bright white beach sand that stands in stark contrast to the brown, pocked bunkers being replaced.

Before, if it rained too much – more than a couple inches in a day – the bunkers flooded and groundskeepers would have to pumped out the standing water.

“Aesthetically, they’re much more visible,” says Brian Tolnar, director of golf for Mill Creek MetroParks. “It had just been caving in over 90 years of use.”

The restoration project is high on Tolnar’s to-do list. Last fall, the course renovated its cart staging area just outside the clubhouse and bought 124 new golf carts and 80 wheeled carts for those who prefer walking to driving. This spring new signage was installed at each tee box.

More projects are planned.

Next year, the drainage systems will be replaced beneath all 36 greens at the two courses, a $1.2 million project, and 2020 will see the paving of cart paths on the southern course and the few remaining stone paths on the northern course, Tolnar says.

“The goal we set was to take care of the product first. So that got the first shot with the cart staging and new bunkers,” he says. “It started by identifying areas that were in bad shape, either through neglect or just not having the finances to do projects.”

Tolnar views the upgrades as a three-phase effort. The course comes first. Then attention will turn to the clubhouse before working on the outdoor spaces around the clubhouse.

In the clubhouse, Tolnar envisions renovating the second floor – formerly a locker room for caddies – into a practice space complete with a Flightscope simulator and a putting and swinging area. That project will cost about $250,000.

“We have that in its entirety upstairs and it’s just been left there. We want to make all the area usable,” he says. “We want it to be a center where you can play golf 12 months of the year.”

Outside, the list of improvements includes repaving parking lots and expanding the patio area of Hole 55, the bar and restaurant of the course. Right now, the course has two tents set up to accommodate golf outings.

“They’re good for housing what we need to house throughout the season. But in the spring and fall, during poor weather, a permanent structure would be more conducive to hosting events,” Tolnar says. “It could help us expand the season beyond the six, seven, eight months that we have.”

This slate of upgrades has a trememdous effect on players’ experiences at the course, the golf director says. In 2017, Mill Creek Golf Course hosted an American Junior Golf Association tournament that brought in 96 players from 24 states and six countries, along with a $355,000 economic impact, according to a report from Mill Creek MetroParks.

With these upgrades, more tournaments could be in the cards for Mill Creek Golf Course, Tolnar says.

“There is the potential to gain other regional events and smaller scale national events. We’re never going to host a PGA tournament or a LPGA tournament,” he says. “But we can host the next level down.”

View the full article at businessjournaldaily.com

Youngstown Road Trip

Savoring Mother’s Day

Pamela Snowden misses her late mother, Lou Fares, but a butterfly necklace around her neck serves as a fitting tribute to her loved one.

“Kelly gave me this necklace last weekend,” the North Jackson woman said about the kind act from her daughter, Kelly Abe of Cornersburg. “She wanted me to have it, and today I honor my mom.”

Suffice it to say that Abe gave a special shout-out and honor to her mother by taking Snowden to Sunday’s third annual Mother’s Day brunch at the D.D. and Velma Davis Education & Visitor Center in Mill Creek MetroParks’ Fellow Riverside Gardens.

An estimated 470 people attended the sold-out gathering, which featured three main stations, noted Patty Rydarowicz, senior events coordinator for Kravitz’s Garden Caf & Inspired Catering, which, along with Mill Creek MetroParks, coordinated and sponsored the brunch.

A waffle bar was a new addition to the menu, said Jack Kravitz, owner of Kravitz Delicatessen Inc.

“My mom is very giving and kind. She’s an excellent baker, and she’s a nurse. She’s also very supportive and is in every way the definition of motherhood,” said Abe, a seventh-grade language-arts teacher and 22-year softball coach for Jackson-Milton High School.

For her part, Snowden referred to her daughter as her “Disney partner,” meaning they have visited Disney World in Orlando, Fla., or Disneyland Park in Anaheim, Calif., about 20 times beginning when Abe was age 4.

Accompanying mother and daughter at their table of six were Korie Gross, Abe’s niece; Cathy Dietrick, Abe’s aunt whom she called “my second mom;” Sheila Ames of Cortland, Snowden’s best friend of 40 years; and Melissa Dailey of Deerfield, Abe’s best friend.

Attendees enjoyed a variety of foods from the stations, at one of which were chefs who carved and served turkey and ham. The buffet’s main course consisted of generous portions of chicken cordon bleu with ham inside and a cream sauce on top, pomegranate glazed salmon, au gratin potatoes, steamed broccoli, hash browns, bacon, sausage, bagels and salad.

Also available was an assortment of desserts, some of which were prepared in a style called flambe, a cooking process in which alcohol is added to a hot pan, resulting in a burst of flames.

Among those who enjoyed the food and company was Kristen Sarver of Hermitage, Pa., who came with her parents, Tom and Mary Pat Lawson of Buffalo, N.Y.

“She has been an unbelievable help,” Sarver said of her mother’s guidance, assistance and interactions with Sarver’s sons, Keegan, 1, and Caden, 4, who also came to the brunch.

“She’s cool!” Caden said about his mother.

Even though they live three hours away, her mother and father are always happy to pitch in however possible when she needs anything or helps to host a family or other event, said Sarver, who also was with her husband, Zach Sarver.

“Both of my parents are great with my sons,” she continued. “The boys enjoy having them, and we enjoy having them here.”

Kravitz Garden Caf & Inspired Catering, which replaced the former Friends Specialty in September 2016 in the visitor center, continues to enjoy a close relationship with Mill Creek MetroParks, Jack Kravitz explained.

The Mother’s Day brunch is one in a series of park-related events the business hosts. Others include the annual Breakfast with Santa Christmas gathering and a St. Patrick’s Day-themed funfest called Leprechaun Lunch, a traditional Irish corned-beef buffet that includes potatoes, Rueben sandwiches, leprechaun fries, french toast sticks, vegetables and cheese cake, he said.

View the full article at vindy.com

Nearly 500 savor Mother’s Day at Mill Creek Park brunch

Pamela Snowden misses her late mother, Lou Fares, but a butterfly necklace around her neck serves as a loving tribute to her loved one.

“Kelly gave me this necklace last weekend,” the North Jackson woman said about the kind act from her daughter, Kelly Abe of Cornersburg. “She wanted me to have it, and today I honor my mom.”

Suffice it to say that Abe gave a special shout-out and honor to her mother by taking Snowden to Sunday’s third annual Mother’s Day brunch at the D.D. and Velma Davis Education & Visitor Center in Mill Creek MetroParks’ Fellow Riverside Gardens.

An estimated 470 people attended the sold-out gathering, which featured three main stations, noted Patty Rydarowicz, senior events coordinator for Kravitz’s Garden Café & Inspired Catering, which, along with Mill Creek MetroParks, coordinated and sponsored the brunch.

A waffle bar was a new addition to the menu, said Jack Kravitz, owner of Kravitz Delicatessen Inc.

“My mom is very giving and kind. She’s an excellent baker, and she’s a nurse. She’s also very supportive and is in every way the definition of motherhood,” said Abe, a seventh-grade language-arts teacher and 22-year softball coach for Jackson-Milton High School.

For her part, Snowden referred to her daughter as her “Disney partner,” meaning they have visited Disney World in Orlando, Fla., or Disneyland Park in Anaheim, Calif., about 20 times beginning when Abe was age 4.

View the full article at vindy.com

Hospital Foundation Donates $110K to Mill Creek Golf Course

A $110,000 donation from the Mahoning Valley Hospital Foundation will name the organization as a four-year title sponsor of the American Junior Golf Association (AJGA) tournament held at Mill Creek Golf Course June 18-21.

The foundation presented the check to the Mill Creek MetroParks Foundation on Tuesday. $100,000 of the donation will cover the $25,000 sponsorship of the tournament for the next four years. The remaining $10,000 will go toward two beautification projects at the course entrances at state Route 224 and West Golf Drive.

The Mahoning Valley Hospital Foundation has donated in the past and decided to sponsor the event as it’s increased in popularity, said the organization’s president and CEO, Mike Senchak.

“We felt it was just an unbelievably great event for us to support,” Senchak said. “It gives us an opportunity to showcase our community to the outside world and to those coming into the area. And it really showcases what we believe is one of the greatest assets in this area, Mill Creek MetroParks.”

The weeklong tournament – one of 155 the AJGA holds annually – draws players and their families from all over the world, including Canada, China, Mexico, Columbia and the United Kingdom. Over the next four years, this will create a “financial windfall” for the local economy to the tune of $1.2 to $2 million, he said.

In addition, local players who travel to other tournaments have a chance to play a “home game,” said Brian Tolnar, the MetroPark’s PGA director of golf. “It gives them a chance to play on their home course.”

This is the third year that Mill Creek will host the tournament’s 12- to 15-year-old age group for boys and girls. Per the request of the AJGA, the number of players is increased to 156 from 96 “because our event has been extremely popular,” he said. The waiting list for the event has consistently had more than 70 kids, he said.

Canada’s Taylor Kehoe, 13, was last year’s girls champion, and 15-year-old Maxwell Moldovan of Uniontown, Ohio was the tournament’s first ever back-to-back boys champion in the 12-to-15 age group.

“When you think of all the people who’ve played in this tournament, like Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, it’s amazing they haven’t had a back-to-back winner before,” Tolnar said. “He had half the Big 10 here recruiting him.”

Tolnar credits the community for the success of the event. In addition to the 120-plus volunteers that come out each year, support from organizations like the Mahoning County Convention & Visitors Bureau, which donates each year, and the Mahoning Valley Hospital Foundation make the event possible, he said.

In addition to the sponsorship donation, the hospital foundation has helped to fund the course’s scoreboard and course improvement projects among other donations.

“He [Senchak] has been extremely generous since I’ve been here,” Tolnar said. “His group plays here every Saturday morning. They’re the first tee time off.”

There’s a chance to add the 16- to 18-year-old age group to the tournament, he says, but will need another $25,000 sponsorship to make that happen. “The only thing we’re lacking there is a sponsorship.”

View the full article at businessjournaldaily.com

Major donation to help fund junior golf tournament at Mill Creek Park

The donation means that the Mahoning Valley Hospital Foundation will be the title sponsor of the American Junior Golf Association Tournament over the next four years.

Organizers say this takes some of the pressure off of them.

“It’s good for the longevity of the event. In addition to that, it’s a huge economic impact for our facility and the Mahoning Valley being just a little bit under $2 million when it’s all said and done over the four-year term, so we’re excited about that and what it does for the local community here,” said Mill Creek’s PGA Director Brian Tolnar. 

A portion of the donation will also be used for two beautification projects at the US-224 and West Golf Drive entrances of the golf course.

View the full article at wkbn.com

Flowers and a Diamond

$110,000 donation to help beautify Mill Creek golf course entrance

A local hospital is donating $110,000, part of which will help beautify the entrances to the Mill Creek MetroParks Golf Course at West Golf Drive and Route 224.

The Mahoning Valley Hospital Foundation is expected to announce the donation today to the Mill Creek MetroParks Foundation.

The donation will name Hospital Foundation as a title sponsor of the American Junior Golf Association Tournament for the next four years.

The tournament, being held at Mill Creek Golf Course from June 17-21, is billed as a chance to watch the next generation of golf champions.

View the full article at wfmj.com

Major donation to help fund junior golf tournament at Mill Creek Park

A big donation will go a long way for the Mill Creek MetroParks Foundation. 

The Mahoning Valley Hospital presented a check for $110,000 to the foundation on Tuesday. 

The donation means that the Mahoning Valley Hospital Foundation will be the title sponsor of the American Junior Golf Association Tournament over the next four years.

Organizers say this takes some of the pressure off of them.

“It’s good for the longevity of the event. In addition to that, it’s a huge economic impact for our facility and the Mahoning Valley being just a little bit under $2 million when it’s all said and done over the four-year term, so we’re excited about that and what it does for the local community here,” said Mill Creek’s PGA Director Brian Tolnar. 

A portion of the donation will also be used for two beautification projects at the US-224 and West Golf Drive entrances of the golf course.

View the full article at wkbn.com