Mill Creek MetroParks making changes to improve facilities, sites

Four years ago, Mill Creek MetroParks devised a strategic master plan, part of which included making improvements to the park itself.

This year, that capital improvement plan finally began.

A number of capital improvement projects have been going on throughout the summer and will continue to go on throughout the park.

Aaron Young, executive director of the park district, said a wide variety of projects were completed this summer.

“One of them is the Wet Playground at the Wick Recreation Area. If you’ve been there on a warm summer day like these past few weeks, you’ve seen the kids using that. But we’ve also moved forward with a lot of our infrastructure improvements, from storm water infrastructure and also our roads and bridges,” he said.

Volney Rogers Field also had some improvements made, like it’s tennis courts and the pedestrian walkways that lead to them, along with the walkways that lead to the pickleball and basketball courts.

Currently, work is being done on West Newport Drive and the East Cohasset Hike and Bike Trail.

“Those are some of the improvements that are less sexy or appealing as some of the courts and some of the other recreational opportunities. But, without the infrastructure you can’t get to some of those recreational opportunities … We’re pleased with our progress and we’ve got more to do,” Young said.

Next year, the Mill Creek MetroParks board is planning on moving forward with the future design and renovations of the Ford Nature Center. This design project is focused on bringing the center up to MetroParks standards.

Work will also continue into next year on the extension of the East Cohasset trail.

“We hope to begin construction mid-2018 on the bike trail and that would take that from Western Reserve Road all the way to the Mahoning County/Columbiana County line,” Young said.

Overall, the park’s capital improvement plan is long-term.

“It’s governing the MetroParks for the next levy cycle at a minimum, which is 15 years. So, we’re nine months in to the next 15 years,” Young said.

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