Over 150 people joined us on March 23 to hear all about the current state of Forest Park.
Our second annual Under the Clock Tower event brought together more than a dozen of our Park partners for a lively open house showcasing the wide variety of what Forest Park offers the greater St. Louis community. We owe many thanks to all of the Park partners that joined us for the evening, including: the Boathouse, City Cycling Tours, Dwight Davis Tennis Center, Explore St. Louis, Flora Conservancy, Forest Park Arboriculture Crew, Great Rivers Greenway, The Loop Trolley, Missouri History Museum, The Muny, Saint Louis Science Center, Saint Louis Zoo and Shakespeare Festival St. Louis. While people were checking out the various tables, they were also enjoying complimentary beer courtesy of our friends at Urban Chestnut.
KMOV's Courtney Bryant was the evening's emcee, introducing our speakers, handing our prizes that were donated by several of our Park partners and leading a Q&A to close out the evening. Forest Park Forever President and Executive Director Lesley S. Hoffarth, P.E. and Director of Parks, Recreation & Forestry Greg Hayes tag-teamed a dynamic presentation, taking turns talking about issues currently affecting the Park. We were excited to share updates on major restoration projects like the rebuilding of Government and Wells Drives, new maintenance work on the Apotheosis statue overlooking Art Hill, efforts surrounding sustainability initiatives, info on the rich history of golf and tennis in the Park and so much more.
Under the Clock Tower also featured an award ceremony for our 2017 Kathryn Nelson Keeper of Forest Park awardees – an annual award given to individuals who have demonstrated a remarkable commitment to supporting Forest Park. This year's awardees were Alison & John Ferring and Dan Skillman.
Alison and John Ferring have been incredibly dedicated to Forest Park for many years. is a long-standing Forest Park Forever Women’s Committee member and co-chaired the organization’s popular Hat Luncheon in 2014. John has been a Forest Park Forever board member since 2000, served as Board Chairman in 2005 and 2006, and has been a member of the Executive Committee since 2002. Together, Alison and John have been generous donors to the Park since 1990 and provided an early leadership gift to Forest Park Forever’s current capital campaign, Forever: The Campaign for Forest Park’s Future. John also serves as the Forever campaign chairman. They are both strong Park advocates and we are honored that they have dedicated so much time to making this Park a great place for all of us.
Dan Skillman spent almost 40 years working for the City of St. Louis’ Department of Parks, Recreation and Forestry. Until his retirement just in the past few months, Dan served as the Parks Commissioner for the City of St. Louis – a role he had held since 1997. Through his work in that leadership position, Dan has had an immeasurable impact on Forest Park — from its initial restoration through the transformational improvements happening today. Dan has been at the table, helping guide the Park forward, every step of the way. While Dan p rovided exceptional stewardship of more than 100+ City of St. Louis parks, we are grateful and fortunate that his work touched Forest Park so significantly over the years.