Ohio Local Parks Generate $3,456,029,725 in Economic Activity

A new report issued by the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) demonstrates the vast economic impact of our nation’s local parks. According to the report, operations and capital spending by Ohio local parks was responsible for $3,456,029,725 in economic activity and supported 30,005 jobs.

Developed in partnership with the Center for Regional Analysis at George Mason University, the report shows that nationally local parks generate more than $154 billion in economic activity and support more than 1.1 million jobs from the operations and capital spending in 2015. The top 10 states with the highest economic impact in 2015 were:

  • California — $15.9 billion
  • Illinois — $10.6 billion 
  • Texas — $7.7 billion
  • Florida — $7.2 billion
  • New York — $5.2 billion
  • Colorado — $4.0 billion
  • Ohio — $3.4 billion
  • Virginia — $3.2 billion
  • North Carolina — $2.7 billion
  • Washington — $2.6 billion 

“This report demonstrates the vast economic impact of local parks nationwide and for Ohio to be in the top 10 is very exciting,” says Aaron Young, Executive Director at Mill Creek MetroParks. “Our park system continues to strive towards its mission of providing park, recreational, educational, and open space facilities of regional significance.

“Parks provide tremendous health and environmental benefits; however, they are also powerful engines of economic activity,” said Barbara Tulipane, NRPA president and CEO. “This report demonstrates why policymakers and elected officials at all levels of government should prioritize park and recreation funding in communities everywhere. The impact of these investments is huge.”

Dr. Terry Clower, lead investigator for the study, observes: “Local and regional park systems are growing in economic importance, not only as generators of jobs and local business opportunity, but as major contributors to local quality of life.” Clower further notes that quality of life and the availability of recreation amenities is increasingly important for attracting and retaining workers and employers, which extends the economic impacts of park and recreation spending beyond what is captured in the current study.

Public support for parks and recreation is strong. The 2017 NRPA Americans’ Engagement with Parks Survey found 92 percent of Americans agree parks and recreation are important local government services (comparable to police/fire/schools/transportation). Moreover, 85 percent of Americans seek high-quality park and recreation amenities when choosing a new place to live. To access the survey results, click here

To access the report, visit www.nrpa.org/ParkEconReport.

To learn more about NRPA, visit www.nrpa.org.  

Annual Mill Creek MetroParks Earth Day Cleanup seeks groups to participate

With more than 40 locations in the Mill Creek MetroParks system needing attention, groups are needed more than ever to lend a hand and participate in this year’s Earth Day Cleanup.

Although more than 300 Scouts and volunteers are expected to scour Mill Creek MetroParks in recognition of Earth Day to remove winter buildup of litter and debris, more help is needed. The cleanup is co-sponsored by the Whispering Pines District of the Great Trail Council, B.S.A. and Mill Creek MetroParks.

The cleanup will take place on April 21 throughout Mill Creek MetroParks. Coordinators will stop by the Ford Nature Education Center (840 Old Furnace Road, Youngstown, OH 44511) to pick up supplies before 9 a.m. and then meet with their groups at various locations and work until noon. This cleanup takes place rain or shine.

In 35 years, more than 11,725 participants have volunteered more than 36,000 hours to clean various areas of the MetroParks. Just in the past 16 years, more than 2,400 bags of trash and 1,100 bags of recyclables along with numerous loose items such as tires, toys, furniture, pipes, wood crates, electronic items and even the proverbial kitchen sink, have been removed. Last year, there were fewer bags of trash but more bags of recyclables.

As in years past, sponsorship of this event is in cooperation with the Recycling Division of the Mahoning County Green Team. They will be providing these hardworking volunteers with trash and recycling bags, gloves and grab-its, as well as pencils, certificates and car litter bags for each participant.

This event is also in conjunction with the Keep America Beautiful Great American Cleanup, the country’s largest community improvement program that kicks off in more than 20,000 communities each spring. This national program engages more than 5 million volunteers and participants who take action in their communities every year to create positive change and lasting impact. Details can be found out at https://www.kab.org/our-partners. The MetroParks hosts the event by facilitating the organization and registration of groups, sites and supplies.

Areas within this cleanup include Mill Creek Park and Mill Creek MetroParks Regional Facilities Yellow Creek Park and the MetroParks Farm.

For more information about this year’s cleanup or to have your group, organization, church, school, family or individuals come out and lend a hand, call the Ford Nature Education Center at 330-740-7107 or Mike Kupec, Mill Creek MetroParks Earth Day Cleanup Chairman for the Boy Scouts, at 330-519-3988.

 View the full article at vindy.com

Certified PGA Pro

Andy Santor, head professional at Mill Creek Golf Course, has become a certified PGA Professional in the Professional Golfers’ Association of America, Mill Creek MetroParks announced.

PGA’s certified professional program offers four certifications: player development, golf operations, golf facility management and teaching and coaching.

“I’m extremely excited to offer the new skills I’ve recently acquired in the PGA Certified Teaching & Coaching Education program at Mill Creek this season,” Santor said. “This will give us the ability to offer unique, expanded and cutting-edge instructional services moving forward. In addition, it will help us keep our programs fresh and inviting as we look to continue the growth and popularity of our sport in the Mahoning Valley.”

View the full article at vindy.com

Notice of March Board Meeting

A Regular Meeting of the Board of Park Commissioners of Mill Creek MetroParks will be held on Monday, March 12, 2018, at 6 p.m., in McMahon Hall, at the MetroParks Farm, on Rt. 46, in Canfield. The agenda will be available after 2 p.m. on the day of the meeting.

Mill Creek MetroParks Head Professional recognized by the PGA of America

Mill Creek MetroParks Head Professional, Andy Santor, becomes a Certified PGA Professional in the PGA of America. The Certified Professional Program (2.0) is a valuable achievement in a learning strategy aimed at improving PGA Professionals proficiency and advancing facility opportunities. The program is the PGA of America’s career enhancing educational curriculum that supports the goals of the PGA members who are committed to continuously improving their business skills to meet the increasing demands of the golf industry. The PGA of America currently offers four certification career paths: Player Development, Golf Operations, Golf Facility Management and Teaching & Coaching. Each career path consist of 35+ business courses, industry related project and a thesis capstone paper submission for program completion.

“I’m extremely excited to offer the new skills I’ve recently acquired in the PGA Certified Teaching & Coaching Education program at Mill Creek this season. This will give us the ability to offer unique, expanded and cutting edge instructional services moving forward. In addition, it will help us keep our programs fresh and inviting as we look to continue the growth and popularity of our sport in the Mahoning Valley,” says Andy Santor, Head Professional. This makes Santor a member of a very limited and elite group of PGA golf professionals that are certified in the country for Teaching & Coaching by the PGA of America.

Mill Creek MetroParks Road Closures

The following roads in Mill Creek Park will be closed to vehicular traffic as well as cyclists and pedestrians from approximately 6:30 a.m. until Noon on Sunday, March 4, 2018 for the Youngstown Road Runners Club Distance Classic Half Marathon:


• New Cross Drive 

• Bears Den Drive

• Cross Drive

• West Drive

• Memorial Hill Drive

• West Glacier Drive

• Robinson Hill Drive

• West Cohasset Drive

• High Drive

• Chestnut Hill Drive

• East Park Drive

• Valley Drive

• East Glacier Drive


Always use caution when driving on MetroParks roads as many of these roads are also used by pedestrians and bicyclists. Pedestrians and bicyclists should be reminded to also use caution and be aware of vehicular traffic when on these roads.

Learn gardening practices in new MetroParks course

Successful indoor gardening requires knowledge of both plant material and growing techniques. Learning how to select the right plants for your indoor space, houseplant basics, light levels and temperatures can increase your plant’s survival rate. Because even though we can control our indoor environment more steadily than the outdoors, at times it seems harder to keep plants alive. However, benefits of having plants indoors through the winter and even year-round are numerous and might outweigh the perceived barriers of their survival rate.

Plants can be mood enhancers, reducing stress, anger, fatigue and anxiety. NASA studies have shown that certain species of indoor plants reduce air pollution by removing volatile organic compounds (VOCs) such as formaldehyde and trichloroethylene, an industrial solvent. Of course, there is an increase of oxygen levels when plants are present due to the process of photosynthesis. More and more research is being conducted each month about the benefits of raising indoor plants.

How can you learn more about successfully caring for indoor plants? A new course is being offered at Mill Creek MetroParks starting this month. Over four sessions, the course will cover houseplant basics, plant selections, lighting, temperature and more, plus go in-depth with unique indoor specimens, from orchids to succulents to air plants. Each session is taught by leading local and regional horticulture experts. Joe Mehalik, greenhouse manager at Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens in Akron starts off the course Feb. 27 with the basics of houseplant care. Learn from the houseplant guru, Lisa Eldred Steinkopf on March 20 about air plants and what to do with the plants you receive during holidays. April showcases local experts Dave Miller, orchids (April 17); Carol A. Knock, succulents; and Marie Borocz, terrariums (April 24) – and their knowledge and talents for raising these unique indoor plants.

The indoor gardening course is offered as part of the John and Doris Andrews Horticulture Certificate Program, which is sponsored through Friends of Fellows Riverside Gardens. The Andrews Horticulture Program gives you, the home gardener, the knowledge and skill to select plants and to successfully cultivate your home landscape. The curriculum assists you in developing the gardening techniques best suited for Ohio gardens. Learn through lectures, engaging labs outside at Fellows Riverside Gardens, and optional hands-on volunteer work. Previous and upcoming courses include: The Fundamentals of Green Gardening, Garden Design for the Home Landscape, and Plant Propagation.

To learn more about the Indoor Gardening course, which will take place from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Tuesdays starting Feb. 27, contact Fellows Riverside Gardens at 330-740-7116 or www.millcreekmetroparks.org.

View the full article at vindy.com

Jeff Harvey to serve on the Mill Creek MetroParks board

Mahoning County Probate Judge Robert N. Rusu Jr. tonight swore in Jeff Harvey to serve on the Mill Creek MetroParks board. 

Another new appointment to the board, Paul Olivier, will be sworn in at a later date, as he was unable to attend the MetroParks board meeting tonight. 

Judge Rusu called Harvey and Olivier “just as diverse” as the park itself. Harvey is a longtime park volunteer; owner of Wild Birds Unlimited in Boardman; and president of the local Audubon Society. Olivier is a Mercy Health executive.  

Judge Rusu said Harvey will bring nature education, wildlife and conservancy expertise to the board, while Olivier will bring his knowledge of business and handling budgetary issues. 

Harvey and Olivier replace Tom Shipka and John Ragan, who did not seek reappoint when their board terms expired at the end of 2017. 

View the full article at vindy.com

Notice of MetroParks Standing Committee Meeting

The Environment Standing Committee to the Board of Park Commissioners will meet on Thursday, February 15, 2018, at 1 p.m. in Classroom A at the MetroParks Farm in Canfield.

Notice of February Board Meeting

A Regular Meeting of the Board of Park Commissioners of Mill Creek MetroParks will be held on Monday, February 12, 2018, at 6 p.m., in McMahon Hall, at the MetroParks Farm, in Canfield, on Rt. 46. The agenda will be available after 2 p.m. on the day of the meeting.