Gates to be installed in Wick Park

Youngstown’s Park and Recreation Commission and the Wick Park Neighborhood Association are working together to install gates at the entryways to Wick Park.

The purpose of the gates will be to block vehicular traffic at night.

Gary Davenport, president of the WPNA, said he feels that the gates will help secure the park from illicit and potentially dangerous traffic.

Sharon Letson, executive director of Youngstown CityScape, said the gates will not close off the park during the day and will not be an eyesore for parkgoers.

“Aesthetically, the gates will be very nice,” she said. “We wanted something more than pole gates that can serve a purpose as well as beautify the park.”

Letson described the drawings that were submitted by the WPNA as stone pillars with swing gates attached, similar to gates at Mill Creek Park.

The plans were submitted to the Park and Recreation Commission on Jan. 13. Anthony Spano, of Youngstown State University’s parking services, said the commission will meet again on Thursday to further examine the plans.

The Park and Recreation Commission previously expressed concern that the gates would create problems for police, fire and ambulance vehicles in the case of an emergency.

Davenport said that, depending on what the final gates look like, emergency responders will have a key or key code.

“The gates really won’t present a problem for emergency vehicles,” Davenport said.

The installation of the gates is part of the WPNA’s plan to improve the park using a $100,000 grant from the Youngstown Foundation.

Ryan Longbrake, 31, who regularly jogs around Wick Park, said he likes the idea of blocking traffic at night.

“You’ll see cars parked with their lights off at night,” Longbrake said. “I’m sure everyone who drives through there at night isn’t doing any harm, but when you don’t know, it can be intimidating and scary.”

Jon Corder, of Ohio Avenue, which is adjacent to Wick Park, said he is happy to see a step in the right direction for his neighborhood.

“The gates will make it easier for police to patrol what goes on in the park at night if cars can’t enter the park,” he said.

Youngstown Police Chief Rod Foley met with Davenport in December to discuss the gates, and his support was included in the letter sent to the Park and Recreation Commission.

Davenport said he hopes to see the gates installed by fall.