YOUNGSTOWN — Mill Creek MetroParks has canceled all scheduled programs, tours, events, lectures and indoor facility rentals until January 2021.
The shutdown is in response to COVID-19, a park official announced Tuesday.
In addition to the cancellations, locations throughout the park system also will be closed through Jan. 11, 2021, which is the park’s scheduled board meeting for that month.
The decisions were made during the board of trustees’ regular meeting Monday, Aaron Young, executive director said.
Influencing the park trustees’ decisions was guidance from the governor’s office and the Mahoning County Board of Health.
“After consultation with them … it became apparent that the best move to make to protect the health, safety and general welfare of not just visitors but MetroPark staff as well, was to recommend that the closures remain the rest of the year,” Young explained.
Those closed locations are MetroParks Farm Education Building and animal barns; D.D. and Velma Davis Education and Visitors Center; all reservable pavilions, cabins and shelters; Yellow Creek Lodge; Lanterman’s Mill; the administration office; the wet playground at Wick Recreation Area and spray basin at Scholl Recreation Area; and Lake Newport and Lake Glacier boathouses.
“The MetroParks is really a platform for mass gatherings of which is not recommended right now,” Young said, adding that’s why the indoor facilities and places with high-contact surfaces will remain closed.
In the event a registration fee or rental fee was paid, a full refund will be processed, according to the park district’s website.
Some outdoor locations will remain open. They are Fellows Riverside Gardens; Sebring Woods; the MetroParks Bikeway; Mill Creek Golf Course; Wick Par-3; MetroParks Farm Disc golf course; and all nature preserves and sanctuaries.
“There are still 47 miles of trail, the metroparks bikeway, the golf course, par-3, all of the athletic fields are open. … Exterior recreation opportunities are still a plenty,” Young said.
Large groups are encouraged not to congregate at the park, and social distancing is strongly urged. Park officials also are advising that those in the park do not use handrails, park benches and other highly used areas to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
Decisions for 2021 will be made in January, Young said.
“We usually start our following year planning in the third quarter,” Young said. “We’re going to do like what we’ve done in 2020.”
Closures will remain in place until certain dates, and as those dates approach, the board will decide whether to extend those closures and cancellations or lift them, Young explained.
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