Kent State students work with Brimfield director to create park programs

Karina Arutyunova

Brimfield residents will soon see developing parks and recreational programs thanks to Kent State and the Brimfield Parks and Recreational Services Department.

Kent State’s exercise, leisure and sport department is teaming up with Missy Mcllduff, Brimfield parks and recreation department director.

Mcllduff received the director position in September 2005 for the recently established department.

Being the sole member of the organization and seeking additional assistance, Mcllduff joined Kim Uhlik, assistant professor for the department of exercise, leisure and sport.

“I was at a point where I needed to do anything that would improve the department,” Mcllduff said. “We’ve set out an outline of what my department would do, and how his students would help.”

The work needed to improve the parks will be divided between two of Uhlik’s courses, process of program planning and administration of leisure services.

“My classes will do exactly what needs to be done to get the program off the ground,” Uhlik said. “She (Mcllduff) has her plate full, and we’ll do all the behind the scenes work that will help.”

About 60 students will assist Mcllduff with researching, planning new programs and surveying, as part of their classroom curriculum. The work entails assessing and developing the two existing parks, Edson Road Park and Town Green Park.

“The students have developed a survey that will help us understand what kind of programming is best for Brimfield residents,” Uhlik said. “Once the surveys are complete, we will analyze them and develop a philosophy.”

The survey, which Mcllduff said is an essential part in developing programs that appeal to the residents, will be the stepping stone in organizing the park plans. Students in the programming course will review survey results to create a mission statement, cost benefit analysis, specific program plans and media materials.

Francesco Vitone, sophomore leisure studies major, is one of the students in the program planning course who is working directly with Mcllduff. He said he looks forward to working on the project and learning more about how the park development process works.

Mcllduff will be attending the classes throughout the semester and is hopeful the students will continue to offer their suggestions and ideas.

“I think they have a lot of new and fresh ideas,” she said. “Working with them gives me an opportunity to bounce my ideas off them, too.”

Mcllduff and Uhlik plan to finish the plans around May and begin implementing the new programs in the community by the beginning of next summer. Mcllduff said she looks forward to continuing her newly established partnership with Kent State, working as a team to cultivate Brimfield parks and other upcoming projects.

“I’m looking at what’s out there, and as land gets donated, see what we can do with it,” Mcllduff said. “Brimfield is growing so much, it would be good to have a plan for the future.”

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