Thanks to several rounds of successful grant applications to the Clean Ohio Conservation Fund, Mill Creek MetroParks has expanded by acquiring new property in previously under-served areas of Mahoning County.
In an effort to better serve under-represented areas of Mahoning County, the MetroParks has also acquired 88.38 acres, located in Springfield Township on Springfield Road, just North of I-76 thanks to a collaborative partnership with the Western Reserve Land Conservancy. Springfield Forest, as the property is being called, is the first land holding in Springfield Township in the MetroParks’ 130-year history. The Clean Ohio Conservation Fund provided 75% or $294,431 of the $392,575 total project cost, with the remaining 25% or $98,144 required match being provided thanks to $62,699 in financial support from the Mill Creek MetroParks Foundation and $35,445 in the form of a bargain sale. Funding for future improvements to Springfield Forest has also been secured through a separate successful grant application to the Clean Ohio Conservation Fund. The Fund will provide 75% or $182,202 of the total improvement cost of $242,936, with the remaining 25% or $60,734.00 required match being provided thanks to the financial support from the Mill Creek MetroParks Foundation and in-kind contributions from Mill Creek MetroParks. Future improvements related to providing public access to the property include facility signage, new parking area, improved trail system, trail wayfinding signage, widened/improved entrance drive, fishing dock/boardwalk, education signage/kiosk, and ecological restoration. Improvements are expected to be completed by fall of 2022.
“We are thrilled to be able to announce this recent acquisition thanks to the dedicated efforts of MetroParks staff, our partners at the Mill Creek MetroParks Foundation, the Western Reserve Land Conservancy and through the support of the Clean Ohio Conservation Fund. The acquisition of this property demonstrates our commitment to our mission and in serving the needs of all of Mahoning County.” said Aaron Young, Executive Director.