Mill Creek MetroParks presents Winter Celebration: Festival of Trees and Winter Nights

Beginning December 3 – December 31, 2022, the D.D. and Velma Davis Education & Visitor Center at Fellows Riverside Gardens will present Winter Celebration: Festival of Trees, which is a family-friendly, admission-free event sponsored by 21 WFMJ/WBCB. This year, 50 uniquely decorated trees by local nonprofits will bring magic to the Davis Center for all to enjoy. Visitors will also be able to participate in a scavenger hunt and view the beautiful seasonal flowers on display. Visitors can experience Winter Celebration: Festival of Trees Tuesdays – Sundays from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.

Every Saturday from December 3 – December 31, 2022, Fellows Riverside Gardens hours will be extended until 7 p.m. for guests to experience Winter Nights featuring an outdoor light display highlighting the beauty of winter. Inside the Davis Center, enjoy live music and special appearances on December 3 from Disney character Elsa and on December 17 from The Grinch. Plus, stop by to find that perfect gift at the Shop in the Gardens and savor refreshments available for purchase in Kravitz’s Garden Cafe.

For more information, please call Fellows Riverside Gardens at 330.740.7116 or visit millcreekmetroparks.org.

Celebrating the Holiday Weekend in Mill Creek MetroParks

Kick off your holiday weekend with the Black Friday Sale at Mill Creek Golf Course Golf Shop on Friday, November 25, 2022. Stop in from 10:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. to purchase your favorite golfer something special for next season.

On Saturday, November 26 and Sunday, November 27 from 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., visit Lanterman’s Mill for Olde Fashioned Christmas at the Mill. Sponsored by 21 WFMJ/WBCB, guests will see Lanterman’s Mill dressed in holiday finery for this traditional, family-friendly, free admission event. Taste chestnuts roasted on an open fire, purchase unique handcrafted gifts, a visit with Santa and more! Santa will be escorted to the Mill by our very own Mill Creek MetroParks Police and will visit with children both days from 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. To share the holiday spirit with others, consider bringing a new hat, scarf, or pair of mittens to decorate our “Giving Tree.” Donated items will warm up local children in need this winter.

For more information about the holiday weekend events in the MetroParks, please visit millcreekmetroparks.org.

Notice of November Board Meeting

The next Regular Meeting of the Board of Park Commissioners, of Mill Creek MetroParks is scheduled for Monday, November 21, 2022, at 6 p.m., in the Education Building – McMahon Hall, at the MetroParks Farm, on Rt. 46, in Canfield. The agenda will be available on the website after 2 p.m. on the day of the meeting.

 

Mill Creek Wins Award for PGA Hope Program

The Ohio Parks and Recreation Association (OPRA) has announced its 2022 Annual Awards of Excellence winners. Mill Creek Golf Courses’ PGA Hope Program placed third in the sports category of the competition. 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.”

In 2021, Mill Creek MetroParks launched one (1) of only two (2) PGA Hope Programs in the State of Ohio in conjunction with the Northern Ohio PGA Section of Cleveland. The program had maximum attendance of 24 veterans with four (4) veterans shadowing the event to see how it worked. The program at Mill Creek included three (3) PGA Professionals from Mill Creek along with eight (8) veteran volunteers. In addition to the veteran volunteers, Mill Creek partnered with the local Youngstown State University Women’s golf team to assist with the program and to promote the military veterans of the community. In 2022, the second year, the program had maximum attendance and was filled in less than a week after the event posted. The 2022 program took place on October 6 at Mill Creek Golf Course. Currently, Mill Creek has expanded the field to 36 veterans with a waiting list of 16 veterans due to the programs high demand.

The community-based event held at Mill Creek is a recreational opportunity for all active, non-active, and retired military members. The emphasis of the program to promote health and mental wellness through the sport of golf aligns with the MetroParks mission. Military divisions represented at Mill Creek MetroParks included the Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marines, National Guard, Navy, and Space Force. All participating veterans receive complimentary golf instruction by PGA Professional staff at Mill Creek, PGA Hope Hat, PGA Hope Camo t-shirt, PGA Hope dog tag, complimentary golf, complimentary lunch each day, complimentary trolley rides in the park, contest prizes, and a commemorative challenge coin. All at no cost to the military veteran participants due to all programs funded by PGA REACH, the charitable foundation of the PGA of America, and supplemented by PGA Section Foundations, allowing the cost of programming to be free to all veterans of every background.

“We are thrilled to be recognized for the work the Golf & Recreation Department is doing to honor our local veterans and all they have sacrificed for our country,” says Aaron Young, Executive Director.

The OPRA Annual Awards of Excellence will be presented at a banquet hosted by the association on January 31, 2023 in Sandusky, Ohio.

Mill Creek MetroParks Wins Award for Ford Nature Center Redevelopment Project

The Ohio Parks and Recreation Association (OPRA) has announced its 2022 Annual Awards of Excellence winners. Mill Creek MetroParks’ Ford Nature Center Redevelopment Project placed second in the Capital Improvement – $2.5 Million and Up category of the competition. 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 redevelopment project’s main objective, to better serve nature education needs of the community, was reached through improving, upgrading, and expanding the facility’s function, all while maintaining its historical and physical presence. Reconfiguration of interior spaces was needed to enhance and expand public programming with new and improved interpretive and interactive exhibits, interchangeable displays, and new wayfinding signage. Improved accessibility was also a prominent change. The grounds of the Ford Nature Center now strengthen the critical educational and recreational link between Mill Creek Park and the surrounding neighborhood. The connections between nature and humankind are on display both throughout the exterior and interior spaces of the Center.  A new rooftop garden was installed above the new basement exhibit hall.  A new wildflower meadow incorporating over two dozen native forbs and grasses can be viewed from numerous perspectives.  Additionally, the formal landscape incorporated native plant species throughout all of the beds including the Ohio woodland garden and bird viewing area.

“We are honored to be recognized for this capital improvement project and the vision of bringing enhanced nature education to the community while maintaining the historical and physical presence of the Ford Nature Center,” says Aaron Young, Executive Director. “With the redevelopment project completed, we are looking to put the finishing touches on the new exhibits and unveiling them to the public very soon.”

The OPRA Annual Awards of Excellence will be presented at a banquet hosted by the association on January 31, 2023 in Sandusky, Ohio.

Tree Planting to Take Place at Collier Preserve

Mill Creek MetroParks will be partnering with the YSU Legacy Forest Committee to plant 1,650 trees at the Collier Preserve, located on Western Reserve Road in Boardman Township at Noon on Thursday, November 17, 2022. This event is part of an on-going reforestation program at the Collier Preserve to help reduce the effects of habitat loss and climate change throughout the Mahoning Valley.

Mill Creek MetroParks Seeking Proposals for New Wick Recreation Area Food and Beverage Operation

Mill Creek MetroParks is seeking proposals from prospective vendors to oversee the food and beverage operation at the Wick Recreation Area in Youngstown, OH. This exciting opportunity includes the Wick Snack Hut located inside the renovated Warming House, recreational leagues food and beverage requests, and the Morley Concert Series food and beverage needs. The Wick Snack Hut food and beverage operation encompasses multiple children’s playground areas including a wet playground, Par-3 golf course, tennis courts, volleyball courts, baseball fields, softball fields, Dek hockey and a small banquet/party room. The Wick Warming House Renovations are expected to be completed in 2023.

Please contact Mill Creek MetroParks at 330-719-2302 for proposal information or with questions. Completed proposals are to be submitted in a pdf format via e-mail to btolnar@millcreekmetroparks.org by 4:30 pm local time on November 30, 2022.

West Park Drive Improvements

Beginning Monday, November 7, 2022, construction will be underway in Mill Creek Park for the infrastructure improvements to West Park Drive. Work will consist of removing stone curb, constructing concrete curb, replacement of catch basins and drainage conduit, placing embankment, and linear grading of shoulders.

West Park Drive will be closed from Old Furnace Road to Bears Den Drive throughout the duration of the project. No programs, special events or rentals will be impacted by these temporary closures. The project is expected to last approximately forty-two (42) days in total, barring any inclement weather that would delay or prolong the anticipated project schedule.

Construction to Begin on East Park Hike & Bike Trail – Phase II

Beginning Tuesday, November 1, 2022, construction will be underway in Mill Creek Park for the construction of the East Park Hike & Bike Trail – Phase II. Work will consist of clearing, stump removal, excavation, embankment, placing aggregate base, placing asphalt concrete, and miscellaneous related items. A portion of the Lanterman’s Mill Overflow parking lot will be used by the contractor for staging equipment and will remain open for use by the public. No roads, trails, programs, special events or rentals will be impacted by these temporary closures. The project is expected to last approximately sixty (60) days in total, barring any inclement weather that would delay or prolong the anticipated project schedule.

AJGA Tournament at Mill Creek Golf Course Continues to be a Financial Success for Mahoning Valley

The Mercy Health Foundation’s American Junior Golf Association (AJGA) Junior All-Star Event and AJGA Preview Events took place the week of June 20, 2022, at Mill Creek Golf Course. The tournaments hosted 276 junior competitors, including eight junior players who earned their spot in a Sunday regional qualifier event for the Junior All Star with a field of 156 players. Over 150+ volunteers, 39 college coaches from all over the United States, and two dozen staff and interns from the AJGA were also in attendance at the 2022 tournament.

The AJGA tournament had an economic impact in the Mahoning Valley of $408,097.00 in 2022 and a total of $2,227,491.00 since its inception in 2016. This impact includes lodging for families and AJGA representatives, rental cars, dining, and entertainment spending. In addition, an $8,950.00 donation was made between the Mill Creek MetroParks Foundation and the 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 $59,950.00 for local charities and has represented players from all 50 states as well as 29 different countries. Many thanks to the Title Sponsor Mercy Health Foundation and Presenting Sponsors which included the Mahoning County Convention & Visitor Bureau, Fox Sports, Mahoning Valley Hospital Foundation, Shark, TransAmerica as well as multiple local companies/businesses that were hole partners throughout the event week.

Alexa Ouellet of Toronto, Ontario, Canada was the female champion coming in at one under par (209) and Brayden Miller of Goshen, Indiana was the male champion with a score of four under par (206) for the week for the Mercy Health Foundation AJGA Junior All Star Tournament.

Hazel Cottriel from Costa Mesa, California was the female champion coming in at two over par (142) and Colton Lusk from Canonsburg, Pennsylvania was the male champion with a score of four over par (144) for the week for the Mercy Health Foundation AJGA Junior Preview Tournament.

Mill Creek Golf Course would like to thank all the spectators who were in attendance for the event as well as media partners YSN, WFMJ, WKBN, 1240 WBBW, 570 WKBN, Tribune Chronicle, and The Vindicator for their extensive coverage during the week.