An assessment recommends closing six Youngstown parks

Assessment also suggests transfer of 12 other entities

By David Skolnick


An assessment of the city’s park properties recommends transferring ownership of 12 to various entities and consider closing another six.

The park and recreation commission hired Youngs-town State University’s Center for Urban and Regional Studies to help provide data on 30 properties: parks, fields, playgrounds, the Northside Swimming Pool and the Henry Stambaugh Golf Course.

About a dozen other park properties — including a cemetery, various islands along Fifth Avenue, and undeveloped land — weren’t included in the report.

YSU received $13,000, $8,000 from the park commission budget and the rest from the city’s Community Development Agency, for the assessment.

The complete assessment will be discussed with the commission at 2:30 p.m. Aug. 22 on the sixth floor of city hall.

But John Bralich, senior geographic information system manager for YSU’s center, who put the report together, provided high- lights of the report at a city council park and playgrounds committee meeting last week.

Among the recommended sites to consider closing are:

Borts Pool and Field on the West Side, but the assessment also suggests rehabilitating it. The pool last opened in 2008 for about 45 minutes after a back flow pump broke. The field’s bleachers and dugout are in poor shape.

Buckeye Plat Field on the South Side or return it to its “natural state,” which would be used for hiking.

The lower portion of Gibson Field on the South Side.

Hillman Park on the South Side.

Evergreen Park on the South Side.

MacDonnell Playground on the North Side.

“It’s tough to talk about closing parks,” Bralich said.

Councilman Paul Drennen, D-5th, chairman of council’s park and playgrounds committee, said before parks are closed, city officials need to know how much would be saved by doing that.

The assessment also recommends turning over ownership of various parks, including:

Oak Park, which hasn’t been used in years, on the Northeast Side to adjacent land owners.

Stambaugh Field on the Southwest Side to Mill Creek MetroParks or return it to its natural state.

Schenley Avenue Park on the West Side, Taft Park on the South Side, Kirkmere Park on the South Side, and Sheridan Park on the South Side to the city school district.

Parker Field on the East Side to the state.

Children’s Park on the East Side, Tod Field on the North Side, and Victory Field on the East Side to the Youngstown Metropolitan Housing Authority.

Evergreen Park on the South Side to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Youngstown, which owns the property.

South High Field House on the South Side to White Hat Management of Akron, which runs the Southside Academy charter school adjacent to the facility. White Hat wants to buy it for $100. The city is interested in selling and is spending $97,000 to demolish the dilapidated concrete bleachers at the football field.

Also, Bralich said city officials need to determine if the park and recreation department can maintain Lincoln Park, a nearly 60-acre property on the East Side.

One suggestion, he said, is to return portions back to a wooded area.

“We need to make Lincoln Park more accessible,” he said.

Councilman Nate Pinkard, D-3rd, said, “Lincoln is an important part of the city’s park system,” and “you can have a park without playground equipment and have hiking trails.”

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