Outside media coverage of Mill Creek MetroParks


A Valley hot spot familiar to thousands for its array of flowers and plant life is ranked third best in the nation. Kaitlyn McCarthy tells us what’s putting Fellows Riverside Gardens in the spotlight and what else is in store for 2024.

Watch the original clip at WFMJ.

Botanical Garden in Youngstown Ranked No. 3 in U.S.

A new analysis using data from Tripadvisor ranked a botanical garden in the Mahoning Valley No. 3 in the country.

Fellows Riverside Gardens located in Mill Creek Park made the list, with 76.61% of reviews describing the garden’s beautiful setting.

A list of ranked Botanical Gardens nationally was put together by Pergola and pavilion designers at Pergola Kits USA. It analyzed reviews on Tripadvisor of 260 botanical gardens across the country. The analysis looked at positive descriptions on the popular website, such as “stunning,” and “beautiful.”

Fellows riverside Garden attracts over 400,000 visitors every year. This garden is twelve-acres, and displays a landscape with diverse and colorful plant displays, roses of all classes, and seasonal displays.

Tripadvisor listed Fellows Riverside Garden as No. 1 of 80 things to do in Youngstown.

The top 10 list also included Hersey Gardens in Hershey, Pennsylvania, which received a 74.85% in the analysis.


Read the original article at WFMJ.

2 trustees reappointed to Mill Creek park board

Jeff Harvey and Paul Olivier, whose terms on the Mill Creek MetroParks Board of Commissioners were set to expire at the end of this month, have been reappointed to the board by Mahoning County Probate Judge Robert N. Rusu Jr.

Both Harvey and Olivier originally were appointed to the board in 2018, with Harvey replacing Thomas Shipka and Olivier replacing John Ragan, whose terms expired at the end of 2017. Both were vetted by a selection committee convened by Rusu in 2017 to screen all potential candidates to the board.

The selection committee consisted of 10 community members who had direct contact and long-established relationships with the park. The selection committee interviewed all of the candidates and then made suggestions to Rusu (the sole appointing authority under R.C. 1545.05) on who they believed would make a good commissioner. Rusu said he created this process to give the public more input into the selection process.

Rusu said he was aware of the recent outcry by some residents about the deer “culling” process recently implemented by the park and the public’s desire to have someone they chose to serve on the board. However, Rusu said he is bound by the Ohio Judicial Code of Conduct Rule 2.4 (A), which states that “a judge shall not be swayed by public clamor or fear of criticism,” according to a news release from the MetroParks.

The board has oversight of the park, all of its holdings, its executive director, employees and policies of the organization. Trustees receive no compensation for their service.

During the time that Harvey and Olivier have served on the board, along with the three other park commissioners, they have been responsible for many positive things happening in the park, including:

• Completing more than $18 million in capital improvements with over 35% ($6.5 million) coming from third-party funds.

• Expanding the MetroPark by preserving land and providing recreation opportunities in previously underserved areas of the county, with more than 75 cents of every dollar spent on acquisition coming from third-party sources.

• Winning four Ohio Park and Recreation Association Awards for programs and capital improvements within the MetroPark.

• Restructuring the MetroPark Foundation, which has increased philanthropy with over $1.6 million in permanent endowments aimed at reducing the dependency on tax dollars.

In addition, they have been able to accomplish all of these milestones while still being good stewards of taxpayer funds by maintaining operational efficiency with a minimal budget increase of only 1%or $340,000 over a seven-year period.

“I am confident that by reappointing Mr. Harvey and Mr. Olivier, the park will continue to grow and prosper and be available for generations to come,” Rusu said in the release.


Read the original article at The Vindicator.

FirstEnergy, YSU to donate, plant trees in Mill Creek MetroParks

While the white snow may be coming in soon, that’s not stopping Youngstown State University and FirstEnergy from planting some green trees before then.

FirstEnergy is partnering with the school to plant 1,600 trees to expand the university’s Legacy Forest at Mill Creek MetroPark’s Collier Reserve in Canfield, which recognizes the university’s first-year students.

According to a news release from FirstEnergy, a variety of hardwood trees will be planted across the 300-acre preserve on Thursday, Nov. 16.

Since 2021, FirstEnergy has donated and planted more than 60,000 trees throughout its six-state service territory, including more than 5,000 trees here in the Mahoning Valley.

Read the original article at WFMJ.

FirstEnergy partners with YSU in tree-planting project

FirstEnergy is partnering with Youngstown State University to help grow its Legacy Forest.

The power company donated 1,600 trees Thursday morning at Collier Preserve in Mill Creek MetroParks.

The Legacy Forest recognizes YSU’s first-year students.

Employee volunteers from FirstEnergy and YSU planted several different trees.

This is one of many projects that FirstEnergy is doing this year to help nearby parks.

“You know, our goals are to help green our communities and help them out with the beautiful nature around us,” said Dan Havalo, of FirstEnergy’s Environmental Green Team.

“Climate warming is the greatest environmental threat that we have ever faced. Planting trees, you know, it’s a token sort of thing, but it raises awareness, and awareness is what is more important,” said Laurel Schroeder, YSU’s ecology professor.

FirstEnergy has planted and donated over 60,000 trees in its service territory. Over 5,000 of them have been planted in the Mahoning Valley.


Read the original article at WKBN.

Work started on new park in Mahoning County

Work is finally getting underway for Mill Creek MetroPark’s newest project.

Starting Tuesday, the facility known as “Hawkins Marsh” in Smith Township will be closed as crews install an access drive and parking lot. They’ll also be putting in walking trails.

The area is 161 acres along Western Reserve Road, just west of Route 534.

The project is expected to last around 60 days. Seventy-five percent of the funding is coming from the Clean Ohio Conservation Fund.

Mill Creek Metroparks acquired Hawkins Marsh in 2022.


Read the original article at WKBN.

Mill Creek Park trail re-opens after extensive improvement project

After an extensive improvement project, the 1.2 mile East Cohasset Hiking Trail in Mill Creek Park has re-opened.

The project included new aggregate surfacing, new and replaced stormwater conduit and drain inlets, as well as rebuilt sandstone walls, steps and drainage channels.

Additionally, a new section of trail was constructed along the perimeter of The Flats to connect the East Cohasset Trail to the East Gorge Trail.

The project was designed and implemented to improve and expand accessibility for park visitors, improve stormwater drainage, and ensure the longevity of the trail infrastructure and its use.

The project was entirely funded by a private donor.

Read the original article at WFMJ.

Hiking trail reopens following extensive upgrades

A popular hiking trail in Youngstown has reopened following an extensive improvement project.

New features on the 1.2-mile East Cohasset Hiking Trail include new surfacing, a sandstone wall, steps and new drainage. Also, a new section of the trail was constructed near The Flats to connect the East Cohasset Trail to the East Gorge Trail.

The entire project was funded through a donation by a private donor.

East Cohasset Trail offers views of Lake Cohasset and the Suspension Bridge. It’s considered moderately difficult.

Read the original article at WKBN.

East Park Hike and Bike Trail extension at Mill Creek officially open

Work on a trail extension at Mill Creek Park has been completed, and is officially open for use.

The park announced that the new East Park Hike and Bike Trail – Phase II is open for use by pedestrians and bicyclists.

The 1,700 foot asphalt trail extends the existing trail from Lanterman’s Mill at Canfield Road around the perimeter of the historic Idora Park property to the East Cohasset Hike and Bike Trail.

Construction of this section of trail completes an off-road network of pedestrian and bicycle trails stretching through Mill Creek Park from Boardman-Canfield Road to Old Furnace Road.

Facilities such as Ford Nature Center, Lanterman’s Mill, East Newport Boat Launch and East Golf Hike & Bike Trail are now connected through this network of trails.

The project reflects the MetroParks’ objectives of enhancing trail opportunities and funding new projects with third party dollars as 80% of the project funding was awarded through a Transportation Alternatives Program grant.

The grant program from the Federal Highway Administration and Ohio Department of Transportation is administered locally by Eastgate Regional Council of Governments.

Read the original article at WFMJ.