Exciting Forest Park Restoration Projects Advance Toward Construction Phase
In recent months, two Forest Park restoration projects have advanced through the complete 9-step review process with the Forest Park Advisory Board. This Mayor-appointed board meets monthly to review and provide feedback on plans for restoration projects in Forest Park, which originate from the comprehensive Forest Park Master Plan completed in the mid-1990s.
Most St. Louisans will be familiar with those restoration projects that have already been completed, from the Emerson Grand Basin and the Jewel Box to the Festival & Parking Plaza and the Park’s new way-finding system. But there remain several exciting and important projects still to be completed in the coming years and decades. The City of St. Louis and Forest Park Forever are pleased to share more details about two projects that recently advanced through the review process and await construction in 2017:
Bridge & Tributary Between the Boathouse & the Muny
For nearly a decade, the bridge between the Muny and the Boathouse has had orange construction fencing around it, offering visitors a poor experience as they crossed it to explore the Park. In addition, the land and waterway beneath and nearby the bridge are overridden with invasive species and offer little in the way of visitor approachability or enjoyment.
This summer, construction will begin to greatly improve this area. Project highlights include:
- A new bridge designed in the style of McKinley Bridge just to its east
- An enhanced crosswalk with vehicular and pedestrian stop signs to improve safety
- 42 new trees and new plantings, native and of diverse species
- A connection to the popular recreational path used by walkers, runners and bikers
- Naturalistic stream edges that will allow for better water flow
- Boulder seating, a stepping-stone crossing and a new bench
- New areas for visitors to picnic and enjoy passive recreation
- New underwater input with remote activation to conserve water
Forest Park Entry Marker at Wells & Skinker Boulevards
While Forest Park now has a comprehensive way-finding system within it, the entrances of the Park still have no identifiable markers to greet visitors as they make their way into this world-class destination.
In the second half of 2017, construction will begin on a new limestone entry marker at the Skinker/Wells entrance to Forest Park, just north of I-64 and Clayton Ave. The Forest Park Master Plan calls for this type of threshold at major entrances to the Park, and this is the first one to receive funding and advance through the Advisory Board process. This project will be a capstone of sorts on the current overhaul of Government & Wells Drives, which will reopen this summer with new pavement, crosswalks, lighting, rain gardens and more.
Designed to be permanent, welcoming and in harmony with Forest Park, this marker will clearly identify Skinker/Wells as a Park entrance (especially key for visitors from around the region and country), welcome visitors arriving by foot, on bicycle and by car, and create pleasant nodes where visitors can meet and gather.
The entry marker will be made of highly durable Indiana limestone, which visitors already see on Park buildings like the Saint Louis Art Museum and Missouri History Museum. The attached plaza and bench will connect to the Park’s recreational path and give visitors a pleasant place to meet or catch their breath.
The City of St. Louis is managing these projects, which have been funded by donations to Forest Park Forever’s current fundraising initiative, Forever: The Campaign for Forest Park’s Future. We will continue to update readers on this website about construction timelines for these projects.