Mill Creek MetroParks Acquires Land in Springfield

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Mill Creek MetroParks has acquired an 88-acre tract in Springfield Township and will turn it into a passive-recreation park.

The acquisition, which will be called Springfield Forest, is located just north of the Ohio Turnpike. It was purchased as part of a collaborative partnership with the Western Reserve Land Conservancy, and the marks 130-year-old park’s first presence in the township. Its use will be limited to “passive” recreation,” Young said. There will be no ball fields or picnic shelters, he said.

The land is gin a part of the county that was previously underserved by the park, according to Aaron Young, executive director of Mill Creek MetroParks.

The Clean Ohio Conservation Fund provided 75%, or $294,431, of the $392,575 total project cost. The remaining 25%, or $98,144, required match, is being provided from $62,699 from the Mill Creek MetroParks Foundation and $35,445 in the form of a bargain sale.

A bargain sale means the seller accepted a price that is less than the appraised value.

Funding for future improvements to Springfield Forest has also been secured through a separate successful grant application to the Clean Ohio Conservation Fund. The Fund will provide 75% or $182,202 of the total improvement cost of $242,936, with the remaining 25% or $60,734.00 required match being provided from the Mill Creek MetroParks Foundation and in-kind contributions from Mill Creek MetroParks.

The park will be improved with public access signage, a new parking area, improved trail system, wayfinding signage, widened and improved entrance drive, fishing dock/boardwalk, education signage and kiosk, and ecological restoration. Improvements are expected start next year and to be completed by fall of 2022. 

Young said the acquisition demonstrates the park’s commitment to serving the needs of all of Mahoning County.

The Clean Ohio Conservation Fund is dedicated to the preservation and enhancement of open spaces, sensitive ecological areas, and stream corridors throughout the state. 

Properties acquired through the Clean Ohio Conservation Fund must be preserved and protected in a natural state in perpetuity, and only allow for very limited development. 

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.