KSU students finish helping local parks

Karina Arutyunova

As the end of the semester quickly approaches, students in assistant professor Kim Uhlik’s classes are feeling proud of the work they have accomplished in class for Brimfield Township.

During the semester, the students worked hand in hand with the Brimfield Township trustees and Missy McIlduff, director of Brimfield Parks and Recreation Department, to improve and develop programs for Brimfield’s parks.

“I think it is a great idea that KSU students are helping us in this project,” Brimfield Township Trustee Dan Tronge said. “It is very helpful to have outside people looking at our parks’ systems to give us some new ideas and suggestions for things to do.”

The student’s in Uhlik’s Process of Program Planning and Administration of Leisure Services courses built plans for Brimfield’s parks from the ground up.

“This was a project that gave us real life experience, and we had the opportunity to really influence the parks and recreation department of Brimfield,” junior leisure studies major Paul Lee said. “This opportunity does not come around often.”

Students from both classes worked in groups to create various park logos, a philosophy and mission statement and specific program plans, which will all be presented to the trustees upon completion.

“I’m hoping that these are good enough for the trustees to pick from exactly,” Uhlik said. “They could use a variation of what we did or use it as something to start from.”

The trustees will use the plans for two of the existing parks – the Edson Road Park and Town Green Park.

“I hope that we can do some of the projects that these students have suggested.” Tronge said. “If we can get more park land, all of the things that they have suggested may be done eventually.”

The students will develop recreational programs from a survey they administrated at Brimfield and Suffield elementary schools.

“The main thing we had to do is the survey,” Uhlik said. “We were concerned about getting the results in time because it was pushed back, but we’re right on track.”

The survey was given to 415 students, ranging from ages 6 to 12 and 88 parents. Both surveys asked about the types of activities people wanted to see done by the Brimfield Parks and Recreation Department.

The survey showed that parents and kids wanted the department to provide holiday activities and seasonal events. After analyzing the parents’ responses, Uhlik found that many of them felt they wanted closer relationships and contacts within the community.

“There is an unmet emotional need for identity, which comes from community,” Uhlik said.

After analyzing the surveys, the students will develop specific programs to satisfy the community’s needs and wants. Some of the programs that are in the works are exercise groups, races for kids and karate and yoga lessons.

Other programs will be developed for parents and children to partake in together, which according to survey results was something parents were interested in doing.

After choosing the programs, the students will be required to develop a cost analysis, outlining all of the fees involved in carrying them out.

The cost analysis will take a lot of the work off McIlduff’s shoulders, who would use the research and information to develop a profitable yet affordable program plan for the residents.

McIlduff said the goal is to have all of the ideas chosen by the end of the summer and to implement the programs for the community by next fall.

And though the students will be finished with their part by finals week, many of them are looking forward to see the long-term results of their efforts.

“It will be exciting to see where they go with our ideas. To see which ideas they use, which they do not and how these ideas are in their development,” senior leisure studies major Joe Tucker said. “It will be interesting to see Brimfield develop with our help because we actually had a chance to genuinely impact the Brimfield Parks and Recreation Department.”

Tronge is excited to use their help and innovative ideas in future projects.

“The university is only three miles down the road from us, and many students live in our community,” Tronge said. “I think all communities should be using the university for any and all help we can get. In fact, I hope in the near future we can receive help creating maps for our GIS system now being set up by Portage County.”

Contact public affairs reporter Karina Arutyunova at [email protected].