City of Youngstown reevaluates park plans - 21 News Now, More Local News for Youngstown, Ohio -

City of Youngstown reevaluates park plans

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio - The City of Youngstown is trying to figure out what to do about the 45 properties managed by its parks department, many of which are overgrown and underused.

21 news reporter Jennifer Baligush spoke with the department's director about how he is looking into getting a comprehensive plan that could save the city money. 

"Our city parks system was built for 150, 000 people. We now have 65,000 people. So there are some parks that we no longer need," says Youngstown Parks Director Bob Burke.

YSU'S Urban Studies program has been studying the use of Youngstown's parks and plans to have a report by August. But Burke would like the city to hire a firm that would put together a comprehensive plan for the parks system.

However, the plan must take a lot of questions in to consideration to be affective.

"Which parks are being used and not used. Where to utilize resources at certain parks. Where to underutilize resources. If you have a park that's not being used, whether to continure maintenence on the park or let it go," says Paul Drennen of Youngstown City Council.

Youngstown City Council approved legislation allowing the parks department to go out for proposals from firms, but it has to bring those bids back to city council for approval.

So what will happen to the parks that the city no longer uses?

"We're hoping that there's community groups, like neighorhood associations, that will take them over; take them and maintain them and maybe make them in to green spaces," says Burke.

Burke would like to have Borts pool filled in and turned into a green space. The park and playground next to it are still being used by children and East High School's baseball team.

Over the years it has been difficult for the city to maintain all 45 of its park properties.

"They used to have nine tractors and be around the city in a week. But now we're down to two tractors and three zero-turn mowers, and we still have the same amount of property," Burke says.

The city is also looking into an overall comprehensive plan. At this point there is no certainty if it will use the same firm that the parks department might select.

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