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Over the past several months, at random times on different days, the Youngstown State University Department of Urban and Regional Studies surveyed 30 park properties within the city of Youngstown. Their findings reveal usage changes that are related to a declining population.
“It was a park system that was designed for a city of 150,000, and you know there are 65,000 people in the city,” said John Bralich, YSU Center for Urban and Regional Studies. “There just isn’t the manpower or resources to keep up with a lot of it.”
As a result, most of the parks have fallen into a state of disrepair and are no longer used such as Tod Field on the North Side. Surveyors visited Tod Field on several occasions and never found anyone visiting that park. That was the case at other parks across the city.
In contrast, Wick Park had hundreds of visitors during its survey period, the most of any in the city. The findings show a trend in park usage.
“There might be other areas of the city where there is a lack in parks and maybe you decide to put one there,” said Bralich.
That’s the case on parts of the South Side and West Side of the city. Officials broke ground last month on the new Glenwood Community Park.
“The benefits of recreation are endless,” said Director Bob Burke, Youngstown Parks and Recreation. “I think it’s important to keep the recreation element alive.”
The Parks and Recreation Commission hopes to have a master plan in place by next summer.