Outside media coverage of Mill Creek MetroParks

Ford Nature Center to be closed for 2 years starting Feb. 1

Mill Creek MetroParks is temporarily closing the Ford Nature Center beginning Feb. 1 to begin a redevelopment project.

The project is expected to take up to 24 months to complete, with an anticipated reopening schedule of spring or summer 2022.

“We are thrilled to be able to announce the start of such a highly anticipated and critically needed project,” Aaron Young, executive director of Mill Creek MetroParks, said in a news release.

The Mill Creek MetroParks Foundation first launched the capital campaign for the redevelopment of the Ford Nature Center in July 2018. The foundation has raised $2,530,262 toward its $3 million goal and received a $1 million matching challenge grant from the Sand Hill Foundation of Menlo Park, Calif.

Once complete, the project will allow the Ford Nature Center to continue serving the community as a primary resource for nature-based education through the use of 21st-century classrooms, learning labs, exhibits and outdoor environment, according to the news release.

 “We appreciate the support the community has provided through the campaign and look forward to the successful completion of the project,” Young said.

Full article at mahoningmatters.com

Ford Nature Center to close for remodeling in February

Ford Nature Center is set to temporarily close for renovations beginning in February.

Mill Creek MetroParks representatives say the closure marks the start of the Center’s Redevelopment Project.

The project is expected to take up to two years to complete.

MetroPark officials expect to reopen Ford Nature Center in the Spring or Summer of 2022.

The organization launched a capital campaign in July 2018 with a $3 million goal.

Since the start of the campaign, the Foundation has raised $2,530,262 including a $1 million signature gift from the Sand Hill Foundation of Menlo Park.

Renovations planned for the Ford Nature Center include learning labs, exhibits and 21st century upgrades.

The Center has been open since 1972 in the former C.S. Robinson Mansion that was donated by the Judge John Ford Family.

“We appreciate the support the community has provided through the campaign and look forward to the successful completion of the project,” says Aaron Young, Executive Director of Mill Creek MetroParks.

Full article at wfmj.com

Ford Nature Center in Youngstown to close for renovations

The popular Ford Nature Center at Mill Creek MetroParks is closing temporarily for renovations.

The center will close Saturday, Feb. 1 to begin construction on the Ford Nature Center Redevelopment Project.

The $3 million project will include the construction of “21st-century” classrooms, learning labs, exhibits and outdoor features.

The redevelopment will help the center become more nature-based and create a place for generations to enjoy.

“I think it’s really going to enhance our footprint here in the park and, hopefully, be a place where we see more visitors coming in,” said.

Over the holidays, the park was given the donations to move forward and has raised over $2.5 million.

“We are thrilled to be able to announce the start of such a highly anticipated and critically needed project,” said Aaron Young, executive director of Mill Creek MetroParks.

Work is expected to take at least two years. The center should reopen in the spring or summer of 2022.

The Ford Nature Center gets over 40,000 visitors each year, including 15,000 school children.

Full article at wkbn.com

Valley students collaborate on Unity Through Nature art project

Aspiring artists from several Mahoning Valley school districts and Youngstown State University have joined Youngstown City School District students in this year’s Visual and Performing Arts Unity Project.

Unity Through Nature is the theme for this year’s project, which involves students from each YCSD school as well as those from YSU, Boardman, Liberty, Austintown, Poland, Lowellville, South Range, Struthers, the Diocese of Youngstown, Campbell and Columbiana creating a painting.

“The collaborative visual art pieces spanning from preschool to post-secondary are both beautiful and inspiring,” Tracy Schuler-Vivo, YCSD’s visual and performing arts director, said in a news release. “My hope and belief through this project is that together we will reach those in this community, both young and old, with a message of strength, power and the importance of unity throughout our area. This year we pay tribute to nature and, in particular, our beautiful Mill Creek MetroParks.”

Schuler-Vivo left it up to each district which school or schools they wanted to be involved so the project includes works across grade levels. The project involves thousands of area students.

All of the pieces will be on display at a Jan. 11 reception that is open to the public at the D.D. and Velma Davis Education and Visitors’ Center at Mill Creek MetroParks’ Fellows Riverside Gardens. The reception begins at 1 p.m. The exhibit will remain at the gardens through Feb. 9.

From there, the paintings will travel to the main branch of the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County in downtown Youngstown where they will be on display from March 18 through April 8. They also will be featured in YSU’s April 25 Federal Frenzy.

The works then will be on display for the VPA Celebrate the Arts performances April 29 at East High School, 474 Bennington Ave., and May 7 at Chaney High School, 731 S. Hazelwood Ave. Both performances begin at 5 p.m., and admission is free.

Full article at mahoningmatters.com

Mill Creek MetroParks seeks public input

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

The proposed project involves improvements to the southern section of East Newport Drive totaling 0.86-miles (Shields Road to Kreider’s entrance) and a portion of Valley Drive totaling 0.38-miles (East Park Drive to the suspension bridge), both of which are located within Mill Creek Park.

The proposed project activities include pavement planing, roadway resurfacing, shoulder restoration, and the reapplication of pavement markings.

The project is scheduled to begin construction in the summer of 2020 with an estimated construction cost of approximately $297,418.

Any comments the public may have regarding the environmental and/or the proposed project may be submitted by Jan. 17 to Mill Creek MetroParks, c/o. Nick Derico, Natural Resources Steward, 7574 Columbiana-Canfield Road, Canfield, OH 44406.

Full article at vindy.com

Mill Creek MetroParks seeks public input on projects

Mill Creek MetroParks is seeking public comment about the social, environmental and economic impacts of proposed road and bridge projects.

One project involves improvements to the southern section of East Newport Drive totaling 0.86 miles (Shields Road to Kreider’s Entrance) and a portion of Valley Drive totaling 0.38 miles (East Park Drive to the Suspension Bridge), both of which are located in Mill Creek Park. The proposed project activities include pavement planing, roadway resurfacing, shoulder restoration and the reapplication of pavement markings.

The project is scheduled to begin construction in summer 2020 with an estimated cost of  $297,418. Some of the project funding ($123,316) will be provided by the ODOT — Park District Improvement Fund (2020-2021 Biennium). The MetroParks will provide the remaining $174,102 in match funds, as well as contribute professional engineering, contract management and construction project management/inspection services.

During construction, portions of both East Newport and Valley Drive will be closed to all pedestrian, bicycle and vehicular traffic. A detour route will be provided for vehicular traffic.

The second project involves improvements to the Old Orchard Bridge on Chestnut Hill Drive. Proposed project activities consist of furnishing labor, materials and equipment necessary to resurface the asphalt concrete pavement over the bridge, seal/waterproof the bridge decking, repair/improve the concrete walks and timber railings, perform stone masonry repair (tuck-pointing), cleaning and all other tasks incidental to completion of this project.

The project is scheduled to begin construction in summer 2020 with an estimated cost of $200,000. Eighty percent ($160,000) of the project’s funding will be provided by ODOT through Surface Transportation Program funds. The MetroParks will provide the remaining 20 percent ($40,000) in match funds, as well as contribute professional engineering, contract management and construction project management/inspection services.

This project is expected to be complete in about 60 days. During construction, the Old Orchard Bridge will be closed to all pedestrian, bicycle and vehicle traffic for a maximum of 45 days. A detour route will be provided for vehicular traffic.

For comments or questions, contact Nick Derico, Natural Resources steward, at 330-702-3000, ext. 136, or nderico@millcreekmetroparks.org.

Full article at mahoningmatters.com

Hometown Hero hopes to spark smiles with Mill Creek Park Christmas display

Our Hometown Hero this week is all about making you smile.

Sharmon Lesnak has been a volunteer for Mill Creek MetroParks for six years.

This year, she’s turned the Davis Center into a “Magical Woods” as part of its winter celebration.

Lesnak and her volunteers began planning back in July and were able to put the entire display together in just three days, right before Thanksgiving.

“To have something for the adults and the kids. We need to smile. So if I get people to smile, that makes me feel good,” Lesnak said.

Lesnak doesn’t work alone though — she has her volunteers to help out.

“It takes a lot of staff and a lot of volunteers to do what you see here. So every little bit of help does make a difference,” said Jaime Yohman, community engagement director for Mill Creek MetroParks.

Lesnak, now retired, has a 40 year background in retail displays. She’s worked for places like Strouss, Kaufmann’s and Macy’s. Plus, she’s very inventive.

“Even some of the roses that were from out of the rose garden were used, the pine cones. I have always enjoyed the fact of being creative and this has given me another outlet since I’ve retired to be able to still do it,” Lesnak said.

While you’re at the Davis Center, don’t forget to stop downstairs to see dozens of more trees, put together by different organizations like the Leonard Kirtz School, Second Harvest Food Bank and Goodwill Industries.

It’s volunteers like Lesnak who make Christmas magic possible.

Full article at wytv.com

Mill Creek Park’s annual holiday event kicks off this weekend

Saturday kicked off the Olde Fashioned Christmas at Lanterman’s Mill in Mill Creek Park.

The annual holiday event brings out thousands of people to shop for hand-made gifts, listen to music and see how crafts are made by local artists.

It also gives people the chance to see the mill in action.

“That’s one of the staples of this area is that we have so many historical things still in operation. We do have the mill running today, so that’s an added feature of the event. People can actually see the mill working,” said Recreation Activities Facilitator Brittany Haynes.

Christmas at the Mill will be open again Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Full article at wkbn.com

Mill Creek Metro Park’s Winter Celebration holds opening

Mill Creek Metro Park’s annual Winter Celebration held its opening day Saturday.

The event was at the Fellows Riverside Gardens in Youngstown. It is also sponsored by WKBN 27 First News.

This is Mill Creek Metro Park’s nineteenth annual Winter Celebration. The theme this year is Magical Woods.

“Which is where the fairies, the gnomes and the trolls live, and as you can see, we have a lovely tree house where they’re residing as well,” said Lynn Zocolo, an educator from Mill Creek Metro Park.

They also have an enchanted forest where visitors can find mythical creatures.

“So we’re talking about dragons, unicorns, of course you know unicorns are real because we know what they look like, right? We have phoenix, the bird that rises from the ashes and my favorite, Big Foot,” Zocolo said.

The creations found at Mill Creek Metro Park did not magically appear.

“Thanks to some wonderful volunteers working diligently since July, they have put together the magic and the mystic of what you may find in the Magical Woods,” Zocolo said.

She says this is their way of giving back to the community.

“And thanking them for their support throughout the year, for Fellows Riverside Garden, for Mill Creek Metro Parks, because without the people of the Valley, we couldn’t do it,” Zocolo said.

If you want to experience the Magical Woods, the doors open Tuesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Every Saturday until December 28, the Gardens will be open until 7 p.m. for guests.

Full article at wkbn.com

Annual Olde Fashioned Christmas offers taste of past

When it comes to doing her part to get people more in the holiday spirit, Kathy Adams doesn’t mind getting her hands dirty.

“I do one show a year; it’s my hobby,” the Austintown woman said about highlighting her abilities with clay and other materials that are hallmarks of her artistic tools of the trade.

Adams, who works at Akron Children’s Hospital in Boardman, spent part of Saturday afternoon displaying her talents with wet clay and a few sharp tools as she crafted and carefully shaped a few snowmen to sell. Her efforts also were part of the annual Olde Fashioned Christmas at Lanterman’s Mill gathering in and next to the mill on Canfield Road.

Fourteen artisans and other vendors are the main attraction for the event, which continues from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. today at the mill. Sponsoring the free, family-oriented and holiday-themed gathering is 21- WFMJ / WBCB-TV.

For Adams, who also studied for more than two years at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, the Olde Fashioned Christmas event truly is a family affair, because helping her sell hand-painted and glazed turtles, cats, cardinals and other items she made are her daughter, Sara Sinchak, and granddaughter, Nina Sinchak, 10.

“The ornaments are baked (in a kiln), hand-painted, glitzed and shellacked, and ribbons are tied,” said Sara, who added that she assists her mother mainly with the business and organizational aspects.

“I sold a lot of them,” an excited Nina said, referring to a variety of stenciled and cut-out tree ornaments she crafted, a few of which were shaped like Snoopy, a cardinal and Forky, a spork character from this year’s popular film “Toy Story 4.”

Attendees who are looking for Christmas gifts or stocking stuffers likely won’t return home disappointed or empty-handed. Merchandise for sale includes scented soap bowls, wooden kitchenware products, ornaments made from beeswax, fleece dog tug toys, picture frames, spool-and-bobbin night lights, pottery items and dog bandannas.

For the sentimental at heart, local artist and historian Bob Barko Jr. has for sale numerous prints of Idora Park and other iconic places that capture much of Youngstown’s history. In addition, selling his prints and notecards is C. Scott Lanz, a longtime nature photographer who in 2005 started his photography business, LanzScape Photography Ltd.

Each year, Lanz publishes and sells the Mill Creek MetroParks calendar. A portion of the proceeds benefits Fellow Riverside Gardens.

Providing a bit of a personal touch to the holiday season is Kathy Bowman of Austintown, who is a regular fixture at the Olde Fashioned Christmas festivities.

“I use a mallet on wet leather, then place and stamp a letter,” Bowman explained about her ability to design then personalize leather bracelets, many of which contain children’s names.

She also had on her table a few delicate and web-like dream-catcher items that are symbolic of many Native Americans’ beliefs about and interpretations of dreams.

“The good dreams go through the net, but the bad dreams get caught in the web and are destroyed in the morning by the morning light,” she said about the belief.

Many attendees Saturday also spent considerable time outside of the mill, where they were treated to chestnuts being roasted over an open fire, courtesy of Ray Novotny, a park volunteer and former naturalist. Also heating things up a bit in the 40-degree weather was Howard Mincone, a comedian and magician whose audience enjoyed a display of pantomimes, juggling and fire-eating acts.

Event organizers also are encouraging people to bring new hats, scarves and mittens that will be placed on a “giving tree” and distributed to children in need this winter. Monetary donations also are being accepted.

Providing the entertainment is “One String Short,” an acoustic group that performed several traditional Christmas carols.

Full article at vindy.com