In 1951, a grove of 125 sugar maple trees was planted in Mill Creek Park at Rock Ridge, now known as the James L. Wick Jr. Recreation Area, on the West Side of Youngstown. The plan for the future was to tap this grove of maples for the sap once they matured. Named after former park commissioner Charles Snelling Robinson, the Charles S. Robinson Maple Grove has matured.
In cold climates, sugar maple trees store starch in their trunks and roots before the winter. The starch is then converted to sugar that rises in the sap in the spring. Maple trees can be tapped by boring holes into their trunks and collecting the sap. The sap is processed by heating to evaporate much of the water, leaving the concentrated syrup. It takes 40-50 gallons of sap to make one gallon of pure maple syrup.
Two members of the Rocky Ridge Neighborhood Association spearheaded the maple sugaring project in 2013. Paul Hagman and John Slanina attended classes to learn the process from the ground up, along with the food handling requirements necessary for public sale of the product. The finished product, Mill Creek Maple pure maple syrup, is bottled and individually labeled and hand-numbered.