Outside media coverage of Mill Creek MetroParks

Mill Creek officers honored for rescue

The Mill Creek MetroParks board recognized two of the park’s police officers at the board’s Monday meeting.

Officer Peter Katsaras and Sgt. Robert Vukovich were honored for finding a 3-year-old boy who went missing during the park’s annual Pumpkin Walk Oct. 14 at Fellows Riverside Gardens.

Although about 10,000 people attended the 21/2-hour event, Katsaras and Vukovich were able to reunite the child with his parents.

The officers’ families were present at the meeting.

“Part of the uniqueness of it is they both have children about the same age as the child that was missing, so I think it hit home for them both,” said police Chief Jim Willock.

“Congratulations and thank you again,” park commissioner Germaine Bennett said.

The board also received an update on the park’s $3 million Ford Nature Center Redevelopment campaign.

After being awarded a $1 million challenge grant from the Sand Hill Foundation, the campaign has about $1 million left to raise.

“We’re very optimistic. We’ve identified probably about half of that already, so we just have to close,” said development director Chris Litton.

View the full article at vindy.com

Mill Creek MetroParks Dek Hockey rink project wins award

The Ohio Parks and Recreation Association has announced its 2018 Annual Awards of Excellence winners. Mill Creek MetroParks’ Wick Recreation Area Dek Hockey Rink Project placed 3rd in the Capital Improvement Projects under $1,000,000 category.

The awards are judged by a panel of parks and recreation professionals from around Ohio.

“Parks and recreation professionals throughout Ohio work every day to improve the quality of life of the people they serve,” said OPRA Executive Director Woody Woodward. “This effort is a shining example of that kind of work, and we are pleased to be able to present this award.”

The MetroParks partnered with the Youngstown Phantoms Hockey Team of the United States Hockey League and the Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation to renovate the former ice skating rink at Wick Recreation Area into a street hockey rink, also known as Dek Hockey.

The goal of the project focused on improving functionality and use through rehabilitation, restoration, and adaptive reuse. The vision was to create year-round public availability, play for individuals or groups, league play, and instructional programming for both youths & adults thus making Wick Recreation Area a premiere regional, four-season, active recreation facility. The scope of the project included installation of dasher boards and chain link fencing, tile surfacing, scoreboard, overhead structures for player benches, and site work including demolition, concrete repair, and electrical work.

Along with donations from The Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation and Home Savings Bank, the incredible outreach continued on a hot day in August 2018. Local volunteers and representatives from the Pittsburgh Foundation, Youngstown Phantoms, Home Savings Bank, and Mill Creek MetroParks joined together to install the decking material for the rink.

“This project exemplifies the culmination of planning that included adaptive reuse, third-party funding, partnerships and volunteerism, which serves as the model for future MetroParks’ projects,” says Mill Creek MetroParks Executive Director Aaron Young. “Partnerships like this allows us to increase recreational opportunities to our park visitors.”

The OPRA Annual Awards of Excellence will be presented at a banquet hosted by the association on Feb. 5, 2019 in Sandusky.

View the full article at vindy.com

Mill Creek MetroParks Dek hockey rink wins award

Mill Creek MetroParks’ Dek Hockey Rink won an award from the Ohio Parks and Recreation Association (OPRA) on Tuesday.

OPRA announced MetroParks’ Dek Hockey Rink placed 3rd in the Capital Improvement Projects under $1,000,000 category. Award winners were decided by a group of parks and recreation professionals throughout the state.

The Dek Hockey Rink is a year-round street hockey rink that can be used by players wearing roller skates or normal tennis shoes. The rink features an electronic scoreboard and dasher boards and is free to use. The rink was built in the same area that ice rink used to be years ago.

The project is a team effort between Mill Creek MetroParks, the Youngstown Phantoms, and Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation.

Officials from Mill Creek MetroParks will be presented with the award during a banquet hosted by OPRA in Sandusky, Ohio in February.

View the full article at wfmj.com

Mill Creek Receives $16K Grant for Disc-Golf Course

Mill Creek MetroParks has been awarded a grant for $16,056 by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) for an 18-hole disc-golf course at the MetroParks Farm in Canfield Township.

The grant, through the 25th round of ODNR’s NatureWorks grant program, is providing 75% of funding for the project.

The disc-golf course will utilize the MetroParks Farm’s landscape, changes in topography, and scenic vistas to establish a unique recreational experience.

The construction of a disc-golf course continues the MetroParks’ effort to provide additional and diverse recreation opportunities throughout the county, and reinforces the MetroParks’ commitment of securing third-party funding for new active recreation facilities. 

The project will be scheduled for construction as a 2019 capital improvement project.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.

View the full article at businessjournaldaily.com

Disc golf course coming to Mill Creek MetroParks Farm in Canfield

A disc golf course will soon be installed at Mill Creek MetroParks Farm in Canfield.

The 18-hole course will provide another activity for visitors of the MetroParks land along Route 46, which already features a bike trail.

Money for the disc golf course will come from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources NatureWorks grant program. It will provide up to 75 percent — over $16,000 — of the cost.

The MetroParks Board of Park Commissioners still has to approve the budget. After that happens, it’s likely the project will be scheduled for construction as a 2019 capital improvement.

View the full article at wkbn.com

Disc golf course coming to Mill Creek MetroParks Farm in Canfield

A disc golf course will soon be installed at Mill Creek MetroParks Farm in Canfield.

The 18-hole course will provide another activity for visitors of the MetroParks land along Route 46, which already features a bike trail.

Money for the disc golf course will come from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources NatureWorks grant program. It will provide up to 75 percent — over $16,000 — of the cost.

The MetroParks Board of Park Commissioners still has to approve the budget. After that happens, it’s likely the project will be scheduled for construction as a 2019 capital improvement.

View the full article at wkbn.com

Mill Creek MetroParks Ford Nature Center receives $1 million gift

The Sand Hill Foundation has gifted the Mill Creek MetroParks Ford Nature Center with a $1 million challenge grant.

The grant will cover one-third of the $3 million campaign that was launched to renovate the 106-year-old Robinson Mansion, which is home to the Ford Nature Center.

The estate was gifted to Mill Creek MetroParks in 1968 by the late Judge John W. Ford. The site was soon transformed into the Ford Nature Center in 1972.

Chris Litton, the Mill Creek MetroParks Director of Development, finds this grant very generous.

“On behalf of the staff of the MetroParks and the board of directors of the Mill Creek MetroParks Foundation, I would like to express my gratitude to Susan Ford Dorsey for this generous gift,” said Litton.

Litton went on to say that he is very excited about the chance to educate future generations and continue the legacy of the Ford family.

View the full article at wfmj.com

Mill Creek MetroParks Ford Nature Center receives $1 million gift

The campaign to renovate Mill Creek MetroParks Ford Nature Center received a $1 million challenge grant from the Sand Hill Foundation of Menlo Park, California. The Sand Hill Foundation is a private family foundation established by the late Tom Ford and Susan Ford in 1995. The $3 million campaign to renovate the 106 year old former Robinson Mansion, which houses the Ford Nature Center, has raised $1 million to date. The challenge grant offered by the Sand Hill Foundation will match new donations to the campaign up to $1 million.

The estate was originally gifted to Mill Creek MetroParks in 1968 by the heirs of the late Judge John W. Ford. After a brief period of hosting the park’s administration offices, the site was transformed into the Ford Nature Center in 1972. Since then, many generations of Valley residents have enjoyed the exhibits, programs, walking trails and special events contained within the MetroParks. The Center receives over 14,000 school children visits every year.

“On behalf of the staff of the MetroParks and the board of directors of the Mill Creek MetroParks Foundation, I would like to express my gratitude to Susan Ford Dorsey for this generous gift. This gift will allow us to not only extend the mission of educating the park’s visitors about the natural wonders of the world for generations to come, but it also extends the wonderful legacy of the Ford Family here at Mill Creek,” says Chris Litton, Mill Creek MetroParks Director of Development.

View the full article at vindy.com

Two Mill Creek Golf Professionals Win PGA Awards

Two employees of Mill Creek Golf Course were honored at the Northern Ohio PGA’s annual awards ceremony last week.

Mill Creek MetroParks PGA director of golf Brian Tolnar won the region’s Merchandiser of the Year award for the third time. He previously won it at Mill Creek in 2016 and for the Western New York PGA in 2013 when he was at Blue Heron Hills Golf Club.

The award is presented based on promotional skills, getting products to market on a timely basis and the use of specialized merchandising techniques including displays and advertising.

Meanwhile, Mill Creek Golf Course head professional Andy Santor won the Teacher of the Year award, given to professionals based on overall performance, innovative teaching programs, published articles and golfers the teacher has instructed.

The two were honored at the Northern Ohio PGA awards ceremony Oct. 22 at Westfield Country Club’s Cary Blair Center in Westfield Center.

Pictured: Mill Creek Golf Course PGA director of golf Brian Tolnar and head professional Andy Santor both won awards at the Northern Ohio PGA annual awards ceremony last week.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.

View the full article at businessjournaldaily.com

Home Savings donates money toward hockey rink in Mill Creek Park

A local bank is continuing its commitment to a project at Mill Creek Park.

Home Savings presented a check Wednesday morning for $12,500 to the MetroParks.

It’s to install Dasher Boards at the Dek Hockey Rink. Dasher Boards run the perimeter of the rink, protecting spectators from players.

Home Savings partnered with the Youngstown Phantoms and the Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation over the summer to build the rink in the Wick Recreation Area.

They refurbished the old ice rink into a year-round street hockey rink. Now kids can play street or roller hockey on the rink — no ice needed.

“In addition to the hockey, we’ll also have box lacrosse and we’ll also have soccer available here, we’ll have rental equipment here and the Wick Recreation Area so you don’t necessarily have to have your own equipment to come here to play,” said Brian Tolnar, with Mill Creek MetroParks. “In addition, we’ll also have some adult leagues, some junior leagues as well to get them into the game of hockey and lacrosse.”

The rink is available first come, first serve but you can call the MetroParks to reserve it as well. Next spring, the plan is to install lights so kids and adults can play into the night.

View the full article at wkbn.com