Buhl Park Named ‘Great Public Place’ in Pa.

HERMITAGE, Pa. – The Pennsylvania chapter of the American Planning Association has named Buhl Park as one of the winners of its Great Public Places award.

“We’re thrilled and it’s certainly an honor, but more importantly it’s a real success for the community,” said Mary Lynn Reid, Buhl Park’s director of development. “There are a lot of people who come to the park and this will help bring more in. And when they do, they drive past businesses and restaurants. So everybody benefits.”

The award was presented to five organizations as part the association’s 2018 Great Places in Pennsylvania awards, which included another category for greenways and trails. Nominees were judged historical value, connection to the community, maintenance, safety and beauty.

The city of Hermitage nominated the park in April, for which Reid wrote a 600-word essay detailing the park’s history and offerings. Founded in 1915 by industrialist Frank Buhl, the park was originally a 300-acre site with a man-made lake, pavilions, playgrounds, tennis courts and a 1,000-seat grandstand.

Today, the park’s offerings include the Avalon Golf & Country Club at Buhl, an off-leash dog park, an environmental learning center for children and an all-inclusive playground with activities for children of all physical capabilities.

“A lot of the changes started when Tom Roskos, the director I replaced, started thinking about what we could make the park for now and for the future,” said interim executive director Linda Evans. “How do we appeal to a large amount of people and not just those who want to walk or jog?”

One such project, she says, is an off-road bike trail being developed by a team of volunteers from the community.

“It doesn’t disrupt any space that we have. It was in an unused area,” she said. “A group together and thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be fun if…?’ It’s been like that for the past four years.”

The next major project at Buhl Park, Evans continued, will be the addition of a pump track, a winding, hilly off-road course for bicycle racing.

Ground will be broken on the project Aug. 20, according to director of sports and recreation Riley Atterholt, and will cover about 10,000 square feet, making it one of the largest between Brooklyn, New York, and Oklahoma City.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.