Construction Underway For Sterkel Park For All, More Funding Needed

Mansfield, OH (April 2, 2023) – Construction has begun at the Sterkel Community Park for All, but additional funding for play equipment is needed this month so that the park can open in the fall.

The 20-acre park site off Hillcrest Street in the heart of Mansfield is set to be one of Ohio’s premier community parks where residents of all ages and levels of abilities can visit and enjoy.

The park project, a collaboration among Newhope, Richland Community Development Group (RCDG), and the City of Mansfield, has raised $4,350,000 so far, including a recent gift of $50,000, but needs $4.5 million to order the equipment that completes the first three play zones.

Among the donors, the Richland County commissioners have already contributed $500,000 in American Rescue Plan Act funds for the park. Plus, a generous donor has offered to match another $25,000 if the project reaches the $4.5 million mark.

"We are so grateful for the donations we have received so far, and I am thrilled to see the construction activity begin, but we need one final push to make this

park a reality," said Michele Giess, superintendent, Richland County Developmental Disabilities Board of Directors (Newhope).

"We can’t wait any longer to order equipment, as costs continue to increase. We must move forward and secure the funds we need by May."

Zone 1 work is underway. Most of the equipment for this zone has been installed, and the remaining equipment will be put in place when the weather permits. The park pavilion has been built and restrooms are almost complete. This zone will also feature pickle ball courts, fitness equipment under roof, ping pong tables and benches.

“Park security is something that is very important to us,” said Giess. “We’ve had Schmidt Security install a state-of-the-art system that will allow the city to monitor the area and after-hours activity to keep the park safe and secure.”

Zones 2 and 3 will include a railroad train, track, and train station, and other special play equipment funded by community donors. These zones can be completed by late fall if the equipment is ordered this spring. The final two zones, Zones 4 and 5, will be completed as more funds come in.

"This park will be a wonderful asset for Mansfield and the surrounding area, as it will provide a safe, accessible, and fun place for people of all ages and abilities to enjoy nature, exercise, and socialize," said Giess. "We hope everyone who can contribute to this project will step up and help us open this park. I am looking forward to the grand opening and a ribbon cutting celebration later this year."

Donations can be made online at the Richland Area Chamber of Commerce website at by scrolling to the bottom of the Chamber’s home page and clicking on “sector groups” under “Initiatives”; then, click on Sterkel Park Sector’s “donate” button. Gift checks can be sent to PARK-RCDG, in care of Newhope, 314 Cleveland Avenue, Mansfield, OH 44902.

For more information about the park project, contact Michele Giess at 419-774-4200 or or Susan Gentille at 419-543-0972.

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