Our Towns

Boardman Park Ranks High In Performance Review

BOARDMAN, Ohio – Since it was created in 1947, Boardman Park has provided the people of the Mahoning Valley with access to activities and recreation few other townships in the United States offer.

On its 243 acres are playgrounds, an amphitheater, bocce courts, a dog park, volleyball and pickleball courts, disc golf courses, baseball diamonds and a chapel where many couples choose to be wed. Even if visitors aren’t attending concerts or using the four miles of walking trails, they can still find somewhere to relax during the day.

Over the past few years, 21 major projects have been completed, totaling an investment of more than $6 million, 80% from grants and donations, says the park’s executive director, Dan Slagle. And with all the additions, park attendance is at record highs: 541,250 visitors last year, a 55% increase since 2009, he notes.

All of that was accomplished on a budget little changed since two levies that total one mill were passed in 1980. That mill translates to 65% of the park budget. In effect, Boardman Park is running on a budget equivalent to that when it was created more than 60 years ago, Slagle says.

In the heart of Boardman’s commercial center, the park has 243 acres, of which 183 are natural forests, untouched except for walking trails. Four buildings also call Boardman Park home: St. James Meeting House, the Beardsly-Walter-Diehm House, Oswald Detchon House and the Schiller-Chuey Summer Kitchen. The Boardman Historical Society and the Holborn Herb Growers Guild use the last two.

In the National Recreation and Park Association annual survey, Boardman Park posted better figures than many of its counterparts in areas with similar populations. Boardman Park’s per capita operating expenditures totaled $35.64 while tax expenditures totaled $23.96, each nearly half of the average of similar parks.

Engagement is also far above its counterparts, with an average of 1,320 participants per program, compared to 76 in other parks.

“The results of the NRPA Agency Performance Review supports our belief in the popularity of the park,” Slagle says. “It is this realization that gives us great satisfaction – knowing how popular and efficient we are compared to other similar agencies across the country.”

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.