Howland Park commissioners to seek input on future of parks

HOWLAND — Howland Park commissioners have been meeting with local community groups and sports organizations as they plan the future of the township’s three parks.

Park commissioners have scheduled two public meetings to discuss the future of the Howland Township Park in the north central part of the township, Morgandale Park in the northwest and Bolindale Park in the southwest.

The meetings are set for 10 a.m. Friday and 6 p.m. Feb. 27 both at the township Administration Building.

Andrew Bednar, an architect with Baker, Bednar and Snyder, said the meetings will be informational gatherings inviting residents to express what they would like to see at the park.

Jessica Gault, chairwoman of the park commissioners, said the commissioners have met with Howand Township trustees, the Howland Athletic Club and others about potential improvements and enhancements to the parks.

Bolindale Park has seen an increase in users with addition of pickleball courts and a farmer’s market, while Howland Township Park has seen summer lawn concerts, summer youth recreational programs, Tiger Town improvements and sporting events.

Last year, the commissioners hired Baker, Bednar and Snyder Associates Inc.,at $14,000 to create a five-year comprehensive plan for park improvements and additions.

Park Commissioners said work needs done on the aging Tiger Town playground and have also discussed additions such as an outdoor exercise area and community garden.

Park Commissioner Allen Seman has said the plan will help set objectives and goals over the next five years.

Commissioners have been informed the Howland Health and Wellness Committee will work with them to create an outdoor fitness exercise area with the wellness committee to seek grants for the project.

Jenna Amerine, Trumbull County health educator / Creating Healthy Communities program coordinator, said the township received a $16,000 Creating Healthy Communities grant from the Ohio Department of Health for 2019 to cover improvements at Bolindale Park.

Amerine had said the money can be used for a community garden at the old basketball area of the park for promoting healthy eating. She said the garden would include raised garden beds for those in wheelchairs. A total of $8,000 will likely be used for the garden and $8,000 for healthy active living initiatives.

“Getting input from the public is important to us,” Seman said.

Amanda Stewart, president of the Howland Athletic Club, suggested promoting the park and future goals at the July 4 parade and celebration. Stewart said a building at the park could be rented by the public for events and generate income.

Gault said the upcoming meetings are designed to help with the comprehensive plan.

“Community input for the future of the parks is key,” she said.

The park are funded by a levy which brings in around $300,000 per year with the owner of $100,000 home paying $3 per year.