Outside media coverage of Mill Creek MetroParks

Project Power Play aims to grow dek hockey in Valley

Mill Creek Park’s old ice-skating rink is getting a blue makeover courtesy of a team that wears black and gold.

On Tuesday morning, volunteers from Mill Creek MetroParks, Home Savings, the Youngstown Phantoms and The Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation were laying down blue tiles for the park’s new dek hockey rink.

Dek hockey is the outdoor version of ice hockey that is typically played on foot instead of skates. Unlike the facility its replacing, the dek can be used all year.

“That’s one of the most exciting parts about adding this recreational opportunity,” said Aaron Young, MetroParks executive director. “Everybody knows the history of the Wick Recreation Area. This new project is a tip of the cap to the old history of what used to be here. It’s just in a new and improved manner.”

The Dek is the foundation’s first dek in Ohio after building 13 in western Pennsylvania. It’s part of the foundation’s Project Power Play meant to make a more affordable version of hockey accessible.

Mill Creek and the foundation – a nonprofit whose primary sponsor is the NHL franchise – linked up through the Phantoms and Home Savings came aboard to contribute.

“We’ve done some promotional stuff with the Phantoms and we were approached by Mill Creek Park with a strong interest, asking ‘How do we put a dek up?’” foundation president Dave Soltesz said. “For us, it’s about growing the game. This is a market where we have youth hockey teams already, but how can you introduce more kids to the game?

“It’s great for parents. You can have a kid say he wants to play hockey and do you want to go out and buy skates and all that stuff? It’s cool to just go out there and play the game,” Soltesz said.

The Dek features covered benches and an electronic scoreboard.

The estimated $250,000 facility was completed Tuesday afternoon.

Young said he didn’t have exact figures to what the MetroParks paid, but said it was “minimal” with the foundation covering the majority of the costs.

The dek is expected to become fully operational in 2019, with leagues and safety rules established around that time. The Phantoms will also run clinics on dek hockey.

“It’s too soon with Mother Nature creeping up on us here. The hope is by 2019, we have everything for leagues to operate,” Young said.

“We’re evaluating our own operations in terms of running leagues. We’re not through with our evaluation just yet, which is why 2019 is more realistic to us.”

Phantoms head coach Brad Patterson had his own version of dek hockey growing up Cranbrook, British Columbia, which was hockey on the concrete floor of a local fire hall. It’s one of his fonder memories of his sport and one area kids can have – minus the concrete.

“It’s not always about being coached or being out there in a formal setting. It’s about being able to go out there and try new things, have fun with it and get out with friends and family,” Patterson said.

“I think this being out here in the area gives us a huge outlet to do that.”

View the full article at vindy.com

$310,750 Bid Takes Former Beeghly Property at Auction

A local bidder was the winner of an online auction for a secluded single-family residence built by business and community leaders Bruce and Nancy Beeghly, Byce Auction of Youngstown reported today.  

The winning bid for the property, 5700 Clingan Road, was $310,750 for the auction, which closed at 4 p.m. Wednesday.

The Beeghlys, who built the home in 1993, later donated the property to Mill Creek MetroParks. Mahoning County records show the tax value of the property is $455,780 and annual property taxes are $9,196. 

The property, which includes a 4,417-square-foot house on 5.9 acres with a private lighted drive, received 23 bids from nine bidders, including one from as far away as California.

Jeff Byce, president of Byce Auction, said he could not disclose the identity of the winning bidder. The name will be released upon recoding of the deed.

The site is just east of Lake Hamilton and south of Yellow Creek Park and is accessed by an 800-foot lighted private drive. The property borders land owned by Aqua Ohio and leased by Mill Creek MetroParks.
The contemporary architectural quality home features four bedrooms, three full- and two half baths, two master suites, vaulted ceilings, great room with fireplace, cat walk, den, Florida room, two-car attached garage, multiple decks, electronic security and a carriage house all surrounded by old growth trees. It is located within the Struthers School District with parcels in Poland Township.

Per the terms of the sale, the high bidder will be required to make a $30,000 deposit and the contract will be submitted for confirmation. Upon final confirmation by Mahoning County Probate Court, the high bidder will have 60 days to pay the balance and close on the property. 

Proceeds from the sale will be dedicated to the upcoming redevelopment project at Ford Nature Center in Youngstown, the park district said last month.

View the full article at businessjournaldaily.com

New bridges complete on hiking trail at Sebring Woods in Mill Creek MetroPark

There are officially two new wooden bridges on the hiking trail at Sebring Woods in Mill Creek MetroParks.

According to a press release, the hiking trail is named after the creek that the bridges cross over, Fish Creek Trail.

It is a 0.7-mile loop, and it has two natural creek crossing and provides a variety of habitats throughout.

To access the trail people can park in the aggregate parking lot located on Johnson Road in the Village of Sebring.

View full article at wfmj.com

Beeghly house auction to benefit MetroParks

Mill Creek MetroParks will be watching the auction of the former home of Bruce and Nancy Beeghly closely. 

The home is secluded on six wooded acres off Clingan Road just east of Lake Hamilton.  

The 4,400 square-foot home has four bedrooms with two master suites, three full and two half-baths.

The home was built in 1993 and was gifted to the MetroParks when the Beeghly’s moved.

“All proceeds from the auction are going to benefit the Ford Nature Center redevelopment project, which is another house that was gifted to the parks 50 years ago this year,” said MetroParks Director Aaron Young. 

The Ford home serves as the park’s nature education center and is earmarked for $11 million in long-term improvements. 

“All the improvements planned for the Ford Nature Center are meant to enhance the visitor experience from access, some new technology, and maybe some new rooms,” said Young.

The current tax value of the home is $455,000. The opening minimum bid is $175,000.  

The sale is being handled by Byce Auctions of Youngstown.

It is an online auction and the deadline for bids is 4 p.m. Wednesday.

There is a 10 percent buyer’s fee and the final bid is subject to approval by the probate court. 

View the full article at wfmj.com

Strike a bargain for future of Mill Creek MetroParks

Those in the Mahoning Valley in the market for an idyllic home amid an expansive verdant setting won’t want to miss a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to benefit themselves and the Valley’s most valuable natural asset in the process.

That opportunity takes the form of a 4,417-square-foot mansion that straddles Struthers and Poland Township currently valued at $450,000 that’s up for auction through 4 p.m. next Wednesday and will likely sell far, far below that price. The top bid Tuesday stood at $175,000.

But the lucky individual home buyer is not the only one who will benefit from the sale. So, too, will the stately Ford Nature Center, an educational institution and learning lab that’s an integral part of the Mill Creek MetroParks system.

Thanks once again to the generosity and community-mindedness of Valley philanthropists extraordinaire Bruce and Nancy Beeghly, all proceeds from the sale of the property will be funneled into a $3 million renovation and modernization of the 46-year-old nature center on Old Furnace Road in Mill Creek Park’s northern tier in Youngstown.

Several years ago, Bruce and Nancy Beeghly donated the home to the MetroParks. After park officials determined it would best be preserved as residential property, the benefit sale was on.

To be sure, the Clingan Road contemporary home built by the Beeghlys in 1993 is no run-of-the-mill property. Consider some of its tantalizing features: vaulted ceilings, multiple decks, large windows that bathe the rooms in light and look out onto surrounding woods, four bedrooms (two of which are master suites), three full bathrooms plus two half-baths, great room with a fireplace, den, Florida room and attached garage.

We encourage all of those with sufficient resources to register their bid online at Byce Realty’s online auction site at www.byceonline.com or contact the Realtor for more information at 330-747-7000.

On its website, Byce calls the property, “the most substantial single family residence we have ever brought to auction. Don’t miss this opportunity.”


That opportunity also continues a proud and productive legacy of community giving that stretches back a century for the Beeghly family, a name synonymous with the titans of business and industry in the Mahoning Valley.

The property gift mirrors the Beeghly family’s donation of the family homestead in Boardman to Western Reserve Care System in 1965, which today has expanded into the home of Akron Children’s Hospital-Mahoning Valley, Beeghly Campus. Bruce and Nancy donated an additional $1.5 million to that campus for a major expansion project last year.

Over the years, the family has contributed to well over 100 groups, organizations and causes, including a $1.5 million donation to Youngstown State University’s ongoing We See Tomorrow fundraising campaign.

Whoever is lucky enough to secure the Clingan Road property also claims bragging rights to enhancing a key institution in the Metroparks.

The nature center, itself once a residential property, was donated by the family of Mahoning Common Pleas Judge John W. Ford in 1968 and began operations as a hands-on educational facility four years later. Since then, its use and popularity have grown multifold, but its physical stature has begun to show its age. Without a corrective face-life, the center will find it difficult to maintain and build upon its stellar reputation, park officials warn.

The nature center, in particular, and Mill Creek MetroParks, in general, rise as community gems and merit support. Such financial gifts also result in less reliance on local tax dollars for critical park maintenance.

For those without the means to bid on the Clingan Road home, the park is accepting donations of all sizes for the nature-center campaign. We hope many chip in as an investment in the future of the park and of the entire Mahoning Valley.

View the full article at vindy.com

MetroParks auctions Clingan Road house donated by Beeghly family

Driving onto a property at 5700 Clingan Road, one might feel as if he or she has traveled much farther than the 800-foot driveway has taken them.

They have left the busy residential road and, not far away, the hustle and bustle of U.S. Route 224. They have entered a secluded property bounded by ravines, where a spacious house sits ensconced in nature. The soft sound of a waterfall in the distance heightens the effect.

Sitting on the 5.9-acre campus is a 4,417-square-foot house that features vaulted ceilings, multiple decks and large windows that bathe the rooms in light and look out onto surrounding woods.

This, along with the four bedrooms (two of which are master suites), three full and two half-baths, great room with a fireplace, den, Florida room and attached garage could be yours.

The Clingan Road house is being auctioned by Mill Creek MetroParks, with 100 percent of the sale proceeds benefiting a $3 million renovation project at Ford Nature Center.

The property was donated to the MetroParks in 2012 by Nancy and Bruce Beeghly, whose family has a long history of philanthropy in the Mahoning Valley.

Bruce, retired president and chief executive officer of Altronic Inc. in Girard, is the grandson of Leon A. Beeghly, founder of Standard Slag along with W.E. Bliss and W.H. Kilcawley.

The Beeghly family has long supported institutions in the Mahoning Valley, including Bruce and Nancy’s recent $1 million donation to Akron Children’s Hospital Mahoning Valley and $1.5 million gift to Youngstown State University.

The Beeghlys built the Clingan Road house in 1993. The donor agreement with the MetroParks stipulated the MetroParks could sell the property after five years if the house had not been converted into a nature center or other public facility, said Aaron Young, the MetroParks executive director.

“As part of our evaluating what would be most appropriate of the property, it became really apparent to us that the property is best suited to remain a residential home and property,” Young said. “We touched base with the donors, let them know what we were leaning toward and shared with them where we were headed.”

The proceeds from the sale of the property will benefit a facility that was once a residence itself. Ford Nature Center, located on Old Furnace Road in Youngstown on the northern end of Mill Creek Park, is a stone mansion donated to the park in 1968 by the children of the late Judge John W. Ford. It has been the headquarters for the park’s nature-education programs since 1972.

The MetroParks is currently fundraising and designing a major renovation of the nature center.

“We are nearly completed with the design plans for the redevelopment of the center, with all of the planned improvements geared toward enhancing visitor experience when it comes to nature education,” said Young.

MetroParks leaders hope the Clingan Road auction will be a significant piece of the fundraising effort.

“We hope with the proceeds of this sale and some of the other donations we’ve received on behalf of the MetroParks, once we sell the home, we would be about halfway there,” Young said.

Of the donors, he said, “It’s partnerships like that and donors like the Beeghly family who understand what value the MetroParks brings to the Valley, and with their gifts we’ll be able to provide those gifts to the Valley. We’re indebted to them.”

ByceAUCTION of Youngstown is leading an online auction of the property, with the opening bid set at $175,000.

The property is valued much higher, according to Mahoning County Auditor records and a recent appraisal. The county auditor lists the current total value of the property at nearly $450,000, and the appraiser estimated the sale value at between $374,000 and $408,000. The current annual property taxes are about $9,000.

The property in the Struthers school district sits just east of Lake Hamilton and south of Yellow Creek Park.

The auction ends Aug. 22. Visit the auction site at www.byceonline.com or contact Byce Realty for more information at 330-747-7000.

Jeff Byce, founder of Byce and an auctioneer, appraiser and real-estate broker, said the property on which the house sits makes it unique.

“It is one-of-a-kind,” he said. “The location is close to everything, but it’s such a private location.”

“It’s certainly a wonderful property, and we anticipate someone getting a very nice place,” Young said.

View the full article at vindy.com

Struthers Rotary funds dredging of Yellow Creek pond

The water in Yellow Creek Park is flowing freely again – thanks to yellow rubber ducks.

The Struthers Rotary, CASTLO and Rudzik Excavation partnered with Mill Creek MetroParks last month to dredge the pond at Yellow Creek Park, restoring the manmade attraction to its former depth and allowing the creek’s water to flow freely.

Mike Krake, member and former president of Struthers Rotary, said the project began because of a rubber-duck race.

“Every year we have a rubber-duck race fundraiser at the pond where people ‘buy’ rubber ducks to use in the race. We’ve noticed over the past few years the sediment buildup in the pond was starting to look bad and block the current, so we wanted to have it cleaned up before our race,” Krake said. “We remembered how it used to look there, and we wanted to get it back to that condition.”

This year’s Rubber Duck Race will take place Aug. 18 at the park.

Yellow Creek Park is part of Mill Creek MetroParks, so to clean the pond, Rotarians had to clear their plan through the park.

Justin Rogers, planning manager at the MetroParks, said the Rotarians’ request was timed conveniently; cleaning the pond already was on the park’s priority list.

“We had actually identified the problem as needing attention when the Rotary club came to us,” Rogers said.

Rotary offered to fund the entire project, donating $5,000 to the MetroParks for the operation. Once funding was in place, an excavator removed the sediment in the pond.

Krake said the project was a Struthers-wide endeavor; Rudzik Excavating provided the labor and equipment, CASTLO agreed to store the sediment, and Struthers police officer Pat Bundy organized the various players.

The sediment removed from the pond was nontoxic, largely just rocks and other natural material deposited from upstream sources — so the digging didn’t create any adverse environmental effects.

With its depth restored, Krake hopes to use the pond for more Rotary events.

“I’d like to look into eventually doing a youth fishing day at the pond,” he said. “We’d bring the kids down and get the pond stocked with fish for a nice day of fishing.”

View the full article at vindy.com

Volunteers complete improvements at Ellsworth Twp. nature preserve

An equestrian trail has been improved at Vicker’s Nature Preserve in Ellsworth Township.

Mill Creek MetroParks and Buckeye Horse Park volunteers completed an improvement project on the 262-acre preserve located on US-224 through a $2,900 STEP grant. 

The project consisted of creating a marked and trail system to be enjoyed by both first time and seasoned trail users. 

View the full article at wkbn.com

Learn what’s in your lunch at Mill Creek park

Have you ever wondered “How did that get in my lunch box?”

This is exactly the question guiding the group of 5-6 year-olds participating in Mill Creek’s Park Pals camp, called Food Quest, the week of July 9.

“The goal is for them to figure out where their food comes from, to have all their questions answered,” said Brenda Markley, a Mill Creek Parks employee who is running the camp.

During this 5-day camp children will learn about all the different areas of the Mill Creek Farms.

The camp took place throughout five days, from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. and each day had a different theme.

“Basically to introduce the idea that that is what farmers do,” Markley said, “Kids love to eat so just kind of getting the idea that that’s where it starts.”

On Monday, the children took a tour around the farm, where they went to personally meet the animals and even held the newest addition, baby goats.

Children rode on a tractor to the different farms, learning about the different plants and animals that grow and live there.

Tuesday the camp will focused on plants, how they grow, and the specific crops grown at Mill Creek Farms.

On Wednesday, the children focused on dairy, and Thursday they focused on fruit.

Then the camp wrapped up on Friday with another lesson, more in-depth, on animals and how we get food from them.

“We want to spark an interest as they get a little bit older to garden or to grow their own food,” Markley said.

Each day began with a story and included an abundance of activities such as making ice cream for the children to eat and creating food related crafts.

Mill Creek parks hosts two camps for the various age groups during the summer, one in June and on in July.

“Hopefully by the end of camp they will be able to open their lunches and recognize, okay those are fruits, and my sand which is made up of all of these parts from around the farm,” Markley said.

“We’ve done camps here for years, but we have restructured camps this year. Throughout the Metro parks we have done a series of camps and broke it down by ages.” Markley said.

View the full article at vindy.com

Mill Creek hydrobikes coasting their way into the spotlight

Hydrobikes are taking over as the newest attraction at Mill Creek MetroParks.  

The hydrobikes are like riding a bicycle on water. 

Workers at Mill Creek said they are excited for what the hydrobikes will bring to the facility. 

“I think it’s going to be great for the community. It’s going to bring people down here and experience nature and like I said, the park has a lot to offer,” said Mike Ezzo, boat house attendant. 

According to their website, a one-hour ride costs $11 for residents and $15 for non-residents. An additional half hour costs $5.50 for residents and $8 for non-residents.  

A second rider costs an additional $5.50 for residents and $8 for non-residents.  

The hydrobikes are available to ride anytime that the park is open.  

View the full article at wkbn.com