What will Mill Creek MetroParks look like 10 years from now? The answer to that question and many others will be revealed in mid-2012 upon completion of a strategic master plan. PROS Consulting, a nationally recognized management firm, will be directing the activities of this work and leading the MetroParks through the planning process.
An important piece of this work occurred on Dec. 21 and 22, when nine separate focus groups gathered over the two days at the MetroParks Farm in Canfield. More than 120 individuals from diverse segments of the community took time from their day to share their thoughts, ideas, insights and suggestions with Leon Younger, PROS president, and MetroParks staff. Among those in attendance were Sen. Joseph Schiavoni; Pat Lowry, director Outreach/Special Projects for Rep. Tim Ryan; county engineer Richard Marsico; and DeMaine Kitchen, administrative assistant to Youngstown Mayor Charles Sammarone. Also taking part were committed young professionals, MetroParks volunteers, members of the hiking and bicycling communities, members of the clergy, business leaders and nonprofit leaders.
The information-gathering process will continue in January 2012, when two public open houses will take place, where citizens can share their thoughts in a relaxed and casual environment. Staff from all departments will be available to answer questions while attendees visit 14 "stations" to write down their comments and suggestions. The first open house will be held on Jan. 10 at the MetroParks Farm in Canfield, and the second on Jan. 11 at Fellows Riverside Gardens. No RSVPs are necessary.
"Public input is critically important to our strategic planning process," stated Clarke Johnson, MetroParks executive director. "We would consider these open houses to be a great success if hundreds of residents of Mahoning County come out to take part in this activity."
For more information, please call the MetroParks Administrative Office at 330-702-3000.