Outside media coverage of Mill Creek MetroParks

Now run by Mill Creek MetroParks, master plan in the works for future of horse park

In early July, Mill Creek MetroParks commissioners decided park employees would now operate and maintain the Vickers Nature Preserve, ending 25 years of the preserve being run by a group known as the Buckeye Horse Park.

One month later, MetroParks administrators are already looking to the future and developing a master plan for Vickers.

Thursday afternoon at the Vickers Nature Preserve, located along Route 224 west, Brienna Donaldson and Houston Burbridge, both of Austintown, saddled up their horses for an afternoon ride.

“It’s a nice place. It’s close. It’s convenient,” Burbridge said.

“The trails could be marked a little bit better, they get confusing when you’re on them,” Donaldson said.

“Do we want to keep each and every component? Do we want to change it? Do we want to upgrade it? Do we want to renovate?” asked Steve Avery, director of planning and operations for Mill Creek MetroParks.

Avery is responsible for putting together the master plan for the Vickers Nature Preserve of the future. He already has several ideas.

“We have a pond… well, let’s let fishing in here — there’s a recreational use that we can have happen like that. And if we add a dock or a fishing pier, that actually improves accessibility,” he said.

Avery wants new restrooms, especially since the lone restroom at Vickers is an outhouse. Another possibility is a playground with an equestrian theme. He would also like to build a second pavilion on site.

“So you could just come, ‘Hey, I just want to come here with my family,’ and rent that. I don’t want to rent the ring — yeah, you could do that,” Avery said.

But the ring, the barns and everything else horses can be rented, too.

Although there were no big horse shows this year, there could be some in the future, just like there were in the past.

Donaldson suggests creating areas for advanced riders.

“Different obstacles, like, different things that the horses can do, like bridges, maybe some water they can cross over, something to make them think a little bit about what they’re going to do,” she said.

Currently, Vickers is geared toward horses, which will continue to be the focus. But it could change, at least a little bit.

“I mean, we’re not going to put a soccer complex here. So you gotta think through some things and play off what you already have,” Avery said.

Avery has no timetable yet for when any work would get done.

Mill Creek has some drawings of what’s being proposed on its website and is also looking for public comments on the Vickers master plan, which must be submitted by Friday, Sept. 13.

Full article at wkbn.com

Youngstown roads closing for Party on the Plaza, Panerathon

Some roads are closing in downtown Youngstown because of two big events.

North Phelps Street between Commerce and West Federal will close for Party on the Plaza.

The road will be closed from 11 p.m. Thursday until 6 a.m. Saturday.

On Sunday at 7 a.m., there will be several road closings for the Panerathon. Closings are expected to end around noon.

Roads in Mill Creek Park closing for the race include Price Road, Price Road entrance of Fellows Riverside Gardens, W. Glacier and West drives and Slippery Rock Bridge.

Full article at wkbn.com

Mill Creek Park roads closed for Sunday’s Panerathon

These Mill Creek Park roads will be closed to vehicular traffic as well as cyclists and pedestrians from approximately 7 a.m. until noon Sunday for the 10th annual Panerathon road race: Price Road, Price Road entrance of Fellows Riverside Gardens, West Glacier Drive, West Drive and Slippery Rock Bridge.

Full article at vindy.com

Outdoor Gallery at Riverside Gardens features varied garden art

There is a new outdoor nature-inspired art exhibit at Fellows Riverside Garden in Youngstown.

The Outdoor Gallery features topiaries and sculptures made from steel and wood for guests to see while walking along the path. Some of the items on display are available for sale by artists.

The artwork was designed to be seen in garden settings. The exhibit is located behind the gazebo.

Junior Golf Tournament Brings $358K to Economy

The Mahoning Valley Hospital Foundation’s American Junior Golf Association Junior All-Star Tournament at Mill Creek Golf Course, held the week of June 16, brought $358,458 to the area economy, Mill Creek MetroParks reported. The three-year total impact of the tournament has been $1,486,472.

The economic impact includes lodging for families and AJGA representatives, car rentals and entertainment spending. In addition, an $11,000 donation was made to the Mill Creek MetroParks Foundation and AJGA Ace Grant, which came from moneys raised for the AJGA tournament and junior-amateur event on the Monday prior to the main event. To date, the golf association event has also raised over $43,000 for local charities.

This year’s tournament hosted 132 junior competitors, including six junior players who earned their spot in a regional qualifying event form a field of 100 players.

Over 150 volunteers, 37 college coaches and a dozen staff and interns from the AJGA were also in attendance.

Sophia Sarrazin, of Westport, Conn., was the female champion coming in at one over par and Jackson Finney, of Louisville, Kent., was the male champion with a score of seven under par for the week.

Full article at businessjournaldaily.com

AJGA Tournament Another Success for Mahoning Valley

The Mahoning Valley Hospital Foundation’s American Junior Golf Association (AJGA) Junior All-Star Event took place the week of June 16, 2019 at Mill Creek Golf Course. The tournament hosted 132 junior competitors, including six junior players who earned their spot in a Sunday regional qualifying event from a field of 100 players. Over 150+ volunteers, 37 college coaches from all over the United States, and a dozen staff and interns from the AJGA were also in attendance at the 2019 tournament. Sophia Sarrazin of Westport, Connecticut was the female champion coming in at one over par and Jackson Finney of Louisville, Kentucky was the male champion with a score of seven under par for the week.

The AJGA tournament had an economic impact in the Mahoning Valley of $358,458.00 in 2019 and a three year total of $1,486,472.00 since its inception in 2016. This impact includes lodging for families and AJGA representatives, car rentals, dining, and entertainment spending. In addition, an $11,000.00 donation was made to the Mill Creek MetroParks Foundation and AJGA Ace Grant which came from monies raised for the AJGA tournament and Junior-Amateur event held on the Monday prior to the main event. To date the AJGA event has raised over $43,000.00 for local charities.

Many thanks to the Title Sponsor: The Mahoning Valley Hospital Foundation, Presenting Sponsors: Mahoning County Convention & Visitor Bureau, ACDS, and TransAmerica Intern Housing Sponsor: Youngstown State University, as well as multiple area businesses for their hole sponsorships throughout the event week. Mill Creek would also like to thank all the spectators and volunteers who were in attendance for the event as well as this year’s media partners: The Vindicator, WFMJ, 1240 WBBW, 570 WKBN for their event coverage.

Mill Creek MetroParks Golf Course, AJGA, and title sponsor The Mahoning Valley Hospital Foundation, are currently under contract through 2021 to ensure the event stays in the Mahoning Valley and state of Ohio.

About American Junior Golf Association

The AJGA is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the overall growth and development of young men and women who aspire to earn college golf scholarships through competitive junior golf. AJGA Alumni include the likes of: Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Paula Creamer, Stacy Lewis, Rickie Fowler, Jordan Speith, Justin Thomas, Patrick Reed, Brooks Koepka, Lexi Thompson and Sergio Garcia.

Full article at wfmj.com

Nature Live at MetroParks Farm gives families up-close look at reptiles and insects

On Sunday, Nature Live came to the Mill Creek MetroParks Farm in Canfield.

The free event allows visitors to get an up-close look at live reptiles, insects and plants.

Nature Live also provides kids with a bio hunt where they can look for each insect and animal.

Education Manager Mandy Smith said some stations even allow them to hold the bugs and reptiles.

“That just develops this appreciation for nature and really gets you to relate with animals and nature itself.”

Smith said the MetroParks’ main goal is to create events where the whole family can enjoy nature.

Full article at wkbn.com

Mill Creek Park hosts coyote lecture

The Mill Creek MetroParks Farm hosted a lecture on local coyotes on June 20.

Cleveland Metroparks Wildlife Ecologist Jon Cepek presented at the event as part of the annual Naturalist Series.

The Naturalist Series is a collaboration with the Metro Parks and OSU Extension and the Mahoning County Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalist program.

“We are so happy to see a crowd like this,” said Education Manager Mandy Smith.

During the lecture, Cepek discussed the facts and fictions of local coyotes.

“It is important for people to be curious and enjoy nature,” Cepek said.

He explained that he has been working with coyotes for more than 20 years, since his graduate school work.

“For my work I field a lot of calls from the community, many of which are highly concerned when they have a coyote near by,” he said.

Cepek said that public perception of coyotes, especially in the media, is often negative.

This can cause the community to panic when coyotes move into their area.

“What we need to understand is that animals just follow their instincts,” Cepek said.

He explained how human impact has greatly changed the natural environment of these animals.

“Their environment changes because of what we do, and then people get afraid of them,” Cepek said. “They are just following their instincts.”

The next lecture in the Naturalist Series will cover Katydids and Crickets on Aug. 10.

To preregister for the event, go to www.millcreekmetroparks.org.

Full article at vindy.com

Park hosts Explorers Kitchen Chemist Camp

The Mill Creek MetroParks hosted the Explorers Kitchen Chemist Camp for children ages 7-9.

Brenda Markley, a naturalist with the Metro Parks, hosted the camps from July 15-19.

“Our goal from Monday through Friday was to discover where the different parts of our pizza come from,” Markley said.

She said that each day children explored a different area of food, from wheats and grains, veggies, fruit and dairy.

During the week children toured the MetroParks Farm and met the animals and saw the plants.

Children also toured different parts of the park, according to Markley, and learned about the history.

“We learned how popcorn popped, we got to see all the animals, they even made homemade cheese,” Markley said.

She said that each day the camp kicked off with a craft done by the students.

They painted ornaments of farm animals, created pizza themed sand art, and colored pictures.

Markley said that they also read a number of books throughout the week that fit with the theme.

Children were also given a notebook to answer questions in and draw in that they got to take home at the end of the week.

“We really want to teach them at a young age to appreciate the food they have and to understand where it comes from,” Markley said.

The camp concluded on Friday with a pizza party.

For more information on park events, go to www.millcreekmetroparks.org.

Full article at vindy.com

Mill Creek Park hosts Park Pals

Mill Creek Park hosted their annual Park Pals summer camp for 5- and 6-year-olds.

Naturalist Marilyn Williams hosted the week long day camp for 12 children.

“The park has been doing the camps for a long time. It’s a good way to get children out of the house and off of the electronics,” Williams said.

The theme of the week was “Where the Critters Are,” which Williams said focused on different animals and their habitats around the park.

“We have a lot of beautiful sights around the park, and even in a week we don’t have enough time to explore them all,” Williams said.

During the week Williams said that the group visited the Lily Pond, Bears Creek and the Old Log Cabin among others.

She said that each day started with coloring before hiking into nature to explore the different habitats.

“At this age the goal is to expose them to what the park has to offer, and to impart the importance of habitat maintenance,” Williams said.

Children spent the week looking at birds, searching for box turtles and finding salamanders.

“At this age many of the kids are shy at first,” Williams said. “But they get more comfortable as the week goes on.”

She said that along with learning about the park and its inhabitants, an important part of the camp is making friends.

The week ended with a special boat ride on Lake Glacier.

“By the end of the week children don’t want to go home from the park, and the encourage their families to come back throughout the summer,” Williams said.

The park will host a number of other camps for different age groups throughout the summer.

To learn more about these camps, and other upcoming park events, go to www.millcreekmetroparks.org.

Full article at vindy.com