YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Of all the parks in Youngstown, one that hasn’t received much attention in the last couple of decades is Kirkmere Park on the city’s west side. But it is now catching the eye of the city and parks department and they have plans for it in the coming years.
Kirkmere Park sits on five acres next door to Kirkmere Elementary.
“We purchased this land from a family in the ’60s and so it’s just long overdue for an improvement project,” said Lauren McNally, 5th Ward city councilwoman.
Built in the early ’90s, cracks are starting to form on parts of the equipment and several of the swings are ripped and hung high so that people can’t actually use them.
“We do have ‘play at your own risk.’ We do our best to fix things that we can fix,” said Dawn Turnage, director of the Youngstown Parks and Recreation Department.
The plan is to transform the park.
“We know we need to replace the children’s equipment… We thought about perhaps adding some shade,” McNally said. “Something we definitely wanted to incorporate is the exercise equipment… We also talked about the creation of some type of enclosed shelter.”
Plans are still in the idea stages and before any blueprints are laid out, community input will be taken.
“What do they currently use it for, what do they wanna see it used for and what’s gonna be lasting and sustaining for the next 20 years,” McNally said.
They held their first of four forums on Thursday. One resident and mother who attended and uses the park says she’s glad to see Kirkmere get some needed attention.
“I think it’s nice. I definitely think that area, it’s a huge space and it would be nice to see something useful,” said nearby resident Autumn Ellis.
The project will take a couple of years and funding for it will come from city funds, public fundraising and COVID-19 relief money.
“It could run up as high as $1.2 million and then as low as $500,000,” Turnage said.
Three more forums will be held after the holidays. Dates and times will be on the city’s website and a questionnaire is also posted online for those living in the neighborhood.