YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – A Mahoning Valley native will be the new face of Mill Creek MetroParks after the park’s board of directors unanimously chose Aaron Young as the new executive director on Monday.
Young has lived in the Valley his entire life and grew up going to Mill Creek Park. He has been with the Geauga Park District since 2005, working his way up to director of planning and operations, a position he has held since September. He also worked as a consultant for seven years.
Getting a job where he grew up has always been a goal of Young. In fact, he applied for the executive director job four years ago but didn’t get it. When the spot opened up, he knew he had to apply again.
“Mill Creek is not new to me. I have been familiar with it my entire life, my entire career,” Young said.
Young was one of 27 applicants for the job and said it is too early to talk about a vision for the park because he wants to meet with staff first and see what they are working on.
“I have had the ability to look at the 10-year plan they referenced at the meeting and I am encouraged by some of that, but really it’s going to depend on what feelings the board has at the time and it will be my task to implement those feelings,” Young said.
The board narrowed the list of candidates down to 10 and then the final three.
“He has a lot of polish. He has been through it. He knows what is going on. He has been a director at his place. The capital improvements that he oversaw there were over $20 million worth. He is an impressive young man,” Board President Lou Schiavoni said.
He did get an earful from one group: The Guardians of Mill Creek Park. They asked Young for a statement about how he is going to protect the park from fracking.
“The deep drilling rights are owned on all the wells around the perimeter of the park. They are already owned by the fracking companies,” group member Lynn Anderson said.
The board fired back, saying there won’t be any fracking in the park.
“May not have been quite as appropriate , but there’s no plans to frack the park. There hasn’t been any plans to frack the park,” Schiavoni said.
Young also commented on the issue when he talked with reporters.
“My response is ditto. The board pretty much told you how it is going to operate,” Young said.
The board still needs to work out the details of Young’s contract, including how many years the position will be. His salary will be in the low $90,000’s.
Young could start as early as the end of the month. That all depends on how long it takes the board and Young to agree on a contract.
Young is taking over for Dennis Miller, who has been with the park for almost 20 years. Earlier this fall, he announced he is going to the Lake Club in Poland.
On Monday, Miller thanked the board and everyone at the meeting for the opportunity to be the park’s leader. He got emotional in his final remarks, but said the park is in good hands.
“We have incredible staff and I welcome Aaron Young with open arms. I think he is going to do a fantastic job,” Miller said.
Miller said he will still visit Mill Creek Park with his family and said he is just a phone call away.