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‘Storywalk’ envisioned for park in Niles

By BOB COUPLAND

Staff writer

NILES — The Niles Park Board is looking at creating a “storywalk” for Stevens Park, where families can walk through and see large boards containing children’s stories.

Park / Recreation Director Mark Pallante told the park board last week that the idea is being looked at for a section of Stevens Park that is vacated. It used to be an old entrance to the park off Vienna Avenue but could be used for the storywalk.

Storywalk is an educational activity that places children’s storybooks along a walking route in the community. It combines physical activity with books to help build children’s interest in reading while encouraging healthy activity.

Pallante said a storywalk is part of Whistlestop Park in Michigan.

“This is a way for children and parents to enjoy reading in the outdoors and get physical activity at the same time. We will see what we can do,” he said.

The covers of children’s books are attached to wooden stakes installed along an outdoor path.

Pallante said the storybooks would be from the old park entrance to the guardrail by the tennis courts. He said there could be as many as 18 storyboards.

Board members suggested adding simple exercises at each stop along the way.

Pallante said adding exercise will help increase the possibility of acquiring grants.

He said talks are being held with McKinley Memorial Library officials about making this a cooperative project.

As for another project, the board is finalizing efforts for the Hometown Heroes banners to honor current and past veterans.

Plans are to place large banners with the photo of veterans and current military personnel on them, their name and military branch. The

banners would hang from poles in various parts of the city.

Each banner would cost $100 with the buyer to keep the banner after the end of the display from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

In other business, the board has accepted a donation of $6,037 from the Niles Area Council of the Youngstown / Warren Regional Chamber. Pallante said the donation will be combined with a $5,000 donation already received from the Trumbull County Board of Health and will be used to install pickleball courts at Stevens Park.

He said plans are to turn tennis courts into four pickleball courts and two tennis courts.

The board entered into an agreement with Hot Top Maintenance at $12,400 for the refurbishments of the tennis facility. The donations will be used to cover costs, and the remaining $1,400 will come from the general fund.

The board also:

Heard from Pallante the Niles City Schools needed more bleachers to help with social distancing for the marching band. The board approved a shared resources agreement with the schools. Pallante said the schools are responsible for moving the bleachers and returning them in the same condition. He said it is important to have cooperation between the schools and the city;

Approved changing the wellness center hours to 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily, noting a dance school holds classes from 4 to 7:30 p.m. and the time will allow for cleaning and disinfecting, prior to cleaning;

Proposed a new membership fee for all trainers, coaches, and instructors using the facility. Instructors teach baton, yoga, chair stretching and line dancing and will be required to purchase memberships to comply with governor’s orders that everyone coming into the door to use the center be required to be a member. Cost is $100 per year. Class participants and students will be required to pay $50 per year. The student membership will allow parents to use the walking trail while the student is in the class;

Reported the men’s softball league started Sept. 10 and will be held for seven to eight weeks;

Changed meeting time to 4:15 p.m. instead of 3 p.m. Oct. 6.

bcoupland@tribtoday.com

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