Boardman Park Launches 75th Anniversary Celebration
BOARDMAN, Ohio – Boardman Park has long been known as “The Green Oasis,” and it is a truly accurate description.
The 243-acre space sits in the middle of one of the Mahoning Valley’s busiest strips for commerce – and traffic. But once you turn off bustling U.S. route 224 and into the park, the noise and pavement are instantly replaced by a verdant landscape where folks stroll, birds chirp and children, adults – and dogs – play.
This summer, the park will mark its 75th anniversary with a series of events that will remind residents of what a jewel the park is.
The park commissioners launched the summer celebration Thursday with a special breakfast at the Lariccia Family Community Center.
In addition to its usual lineup of free concerts, family nights and other activities, Boardman Park will culminate the celebration with a free 75th Birthday Bash on Aug. 27, with live music, fireworks, children’s activities and a bounce house, wagon rides and other attractions.
“We love to see people come and enjoy the green space, the playgrounds, the ballparks and the miles of walking trails,” said park board commissioner Joyce Mistovich. “The park is your oasis and we want to thank you for making it part of your memories.”
Over the years, countless wedding receptions, graduation parties, picnics and other life events have taken place in the park’s St. James Meeting House and its pavilions. To capture them, a Boardman Park memories Facebook page will be launched soon where folks can post photos of their memorable moments in the park, Mistovich said.
The park’s summer season begins May 21 with the annual Baby Bargain Boutique sale from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Masters Pavilion. Admission is free with a donation of a nonperishable food item donation for a local food bank.
It will be followed by the Memorial Day Parade, which starts at 10 a.m. at Center Middle School and ends at the park, where a service will take place at 11 a.m. at Maag Outdoor Amphitheater.
The Independence Day fireworks night will take place July 9, with live music starting at 8 p.m.
At Thursday’s kickoff breakfast, Karen McCallum, park director, paid a special honor to park executive director Dan Slagle, who has served Boardman Park for 50 years. She presented him with a custom-made metal plaque to commemorate his half-century of “budgeting, writing grant proposals… and his knowledge of every tree, plant and shrub that’s here in the park.”
Slagle will also get to choose the site of a garden in the park that will be named for him.
In accepting the award, he expressed his appreciation for the park’s employees.
Boardman Park’s story began in 1946, when William F. Maag purchased a 123-acre parcel of farmland and woods from the township for $14,500.
Maag kept 51 acres of the land to build a transmitter for his radio station, WFMJ, and donated the remaining 72 acres to the township to establish a park. To this day, roughly two-thirds of the park remains undeveloped woods.
The park district and commission were established by township trustees in 1947.
Boardman Park’s most noteworthy structure is the St. James Meeting House, which was moved there in 1972 from its original location on Market Street, a few hundred feet south of U.S. route 224.
The historical landmark was saved from demolition by a community-based effort.
Built in 1828, it was the first home of the oldest Episcopal parish in the then-Western Reserve of Connecticut and known as St. James Church.
Henry Mason Boardman, son of Elijah Boardman, founder of the township, spearheaded the construction of the church and donated the land for its construction.
Today, the nearly 200-year-old structure is the site of hundreds of weddings each year. For information, go to boardmanpark.com.
Pictured at top: Karen McCallum, Boardman Park director, presents a plaque to Dan Slagle, park executive director, to commemorate his 50 years of service.
Copyright 2023 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.