Thank You Commissioner Scott McKinney for your service to Portage Parks!

Commissioner McKinney shares his thoughts on the work of the Portage Park District
Commissioner Scott McKinney smiling with sunglasses in the parks

Commissioner McKinney has left a strong legacy for YOUR Portage Parks and his leadership and talents will be missed.

“Commissioner McKinney has been an integral member of the Park District team for over a decade, during a time of great change and growth. His knowledge, wisdom, and character have been invaluable to our success—we greatly appreciate the countless hours he volunteered for the Park District and the mark he made on our park legacy for future generations”, said Christine Craycroft, Executive Director.

The Portage Park District is governed by a five-member Board of unpaid Commissioners, appointed for renewable 3-year terms by the Portage County Probate Court Judge, Patricia Smith. Commissioners are dedicated to advancing the mission of the Park District and are responsible for approving policies, annual budgets and job descriptions. Interested candidates for Commissioner can learn more and obtain an application for consideration by visiting the board page. 

Learn more about Commissioner McKinney and his tenure with Portage Park District

"Being involved with the Portage Park District has been one of the most rewarding things that I have done. I look forward to seeing what the talented board and staff are able to do in the coming years!" - Commissioner Scott McKinney

How did you get started with the Portage Parks? What inspired you to help?

I have always appreciated the outdoors - especially camping, hiking, and boating. My undergraduate degree is in recreation management and when I was working on my master's degree, I focused a number of my projects on the park district. 

I am inspired to help because the environment is important to everyone. Clean air and clean water are something that we cannot take for granted and the mission of the park is to preserve these things. It is particularly important for me to be involved so my kids, and all future generations, have green spaces to enjoy.

What does the park’s growth mean to you? What do you think it means to Portage County?

For many years, the park district did great things with no levy and very little money. Look around us and you will see that we are surrounded by amazing and very well-funded park districts and metro parks. Having passed our first levy in 2014, the park district has finally been able to make some real progress in the growth of parks and conservation. I’m astounded at the level of grant support that the skillful Chris Craycroft is able to secure - making our local dollar go even further. This growth is a community legacy for us all to be proud of. 

What is your most meaningful accomplishment during your tenure with PPD?

There are so many meaningful things that have happed since I first got involved with the park district. I’ll give you my top 2:

1. Getting the Portage Park District Foundation up and running. As the founding board president, I worked with my fellow board members as well as the park commissioners to set up a foundation to secure philanthropic support for the parks. This infused some much-needed support to the park district, even before the levy was passed. The foundation board members today are doing great things!

2. Opening Trail Lake Park. We have had many park openings, but this is one of my favorite parks, and I love that is so accessible. The trail and dock allow people of all abilities to get out and enjoy nature. This is personal for me. My wife Julie and I have been adoptive and foster parents of kids with disabilities for many years. This is a place they can all enjoy.

How would you encourage others to get involved with Portage Parks?

There are so many ways to get involved! Walk, run, hike, bike, kayak…in the park or on the trail of your choice. But please don’t stop there. Tell others about the parks - we need you to be an advocate. If you want to have a bigger impact consider volunteering or making a financial donation. Most importantly - vote! The levy will be coming up for renewal soon, and it is vital to the future of the park district. 

What is next for you?

I am in a season of life when my kids are very involved in sports and activities and I’m going to continue to focus on their success. I’m also starting the Ed.D program in interprofessional leadership. I’m looking forward to seeing where this takes me in my career at Kent State. I won’t be a stranger to the parks though! Look for me on the trails.