The Benefits Of Community Partnerships

In 2013, thanks to partnerships with various community members and businesses, the Massillon Parks & Recreation Department in Ohio received an outpouring of blessings.

On June 24, the department celebrated a donation from Campbell Oil Company for the renovation of an outdoor walking path that covers 1.27 miles at Reservoir and North Sippo Parks. The path was originally installed in 1989 with a $250,000 donation from Chester Campbell (founder of Campbell Oil) and $15,000 from the Massillon Rotary Club. The old rubber surface was removed, and a 1-inch-thick coating of asphalt was applied, then it was covered with a layer of Acrylotex Acrylic Walking Path Coating. The work was completed by Vasco Asphalt Company of Massillon. Brian Burrows, President of Campbell Oil, noted that the walking path was for the company’s namesake so it was important to keep the path looking good and available for the citizens of Massillon and the surrounding communities. Massillon Mayor Kathy Catazaro-Perry read a proclamation and declared the day “Campbell Oil Day.”

In September 2013 Massillon Parks & Recreation Department received two $50,000 donations, one from an anonymous donor and the other from American Tire Distributors, Inc., working through Boundless Playgrounds. Thanks to the donations, several hundred adults and children came out to test out the new playground, utilized by Children of All Abilities, while enjoying BBQ, hotdogs, popcorn, and ice cream.

This new playground promotes inclusive, unstructured play with ramped wheelchair access to the highest platforms. It also features an exclusive Tread Town Tire swing and other cutting-edge fitness and education-based activities. The ground surface, made from 400 recycled tires, has created a universally accessible playground for children and caregivers with and without disabilities to navigate through it.

One of the final projects of 2013 was realized from the generosity of Neil Genshaft of Fresh Mark, a company headquartered in Massillon that produces a broad array of processed meat products. The Arthur Genshaft Memorial Park facility, a four-field softball complex, was originally gifted to the city in January 1982 by the Genshaft family in memory of Arthur Genshaft, the founder of Superior’s Brand Meats. Due to heavy usage, the facility was starting to show its age, but thanks again to the family’s generosity, the park is currently undergoing renovations. The fields have been re-graded for better water runoff and new energy-efficient tournament lighting has been added, along with new fences surrounding the fields, a new outdoor pavilion, infield irrigation, new infield mix, parking lot improvements, new scoreboards, and an improved concession/restroom. Upon completion, Arthur Genshaft Memorial Park will become the premier softball facility it was once.

Through these partnerships the Massillon Parks & Recreation Department is continuing to show its dedication to creating positive experiences by providing quality parks, facilities, services, and programs. The department will continue to work with the community to advance the quality of life for all.

Lisa Benton is the Special Events & Marketing Coordinator for the city of Massillon Parks & Recreation Department in Massillon, Ohio. Reach her at