The City of St. Louis and Forest Park Forever Announce Plans to Construct the First in a New Unified System of Entrance Markers
Designed to be timeless, permanent, welcoming and in harmony with Forest Park, each marker will improve the visitor experience and aid in navigation
ST. LOUIS, August 24, 2015 – The City of St. Louis and the private nonprofit conservancy Forest Park Forever have announced plans to construct the first of eight new arrival markers at key Forest Park entrances. Called for in the 1995 Forest Park Master Plan, these thresholds will more formally welcome visitors arriving by foot, on bicycle and by car, clearly identify the Park’s primary and secondary entrances — especially key for visitors from around the region and country — and create welcoming nodes where visitors can meet and gather.
At the first site selected, the popular entrance at Skinker/Wells/Clayton at the Park’s southwest edge, a temporary mock-up will be installed in fall 2015; this will allow stakeholders and the Forest Park Advisory Board — established in the Master Plan to ensure public involvement in any new capital projects in the Park — to assess scale, positioning and Park context before continuing on with construction, which is planned for 2016. Design and construction costs for this entrance are estimated to be approximately $300,000. Forest Park Forever has raised the private funds necessary to proceed and complete it. St. Louis-based SWT Design has served as the project’s designer.
“As many visitors and citizens have pointed out over the years, Forest Park is a vast and beloved treasure, yet it has no formal entrance markers welcoming visitors,” said Lesley S. Hoffarth, P.E., President and Executive Director of Forest Park Forever. “We even know that some people visit one of our great cultural institutions without ever realizing they’ve entered this world-class park and point of civic pride. Forest Park Forever is extremely pleased to have worked with our City partners and the Forest Park Advisory Board to advance this terrific project, and we are grateful for a lead private donation making this first site possible.”
“This is an invaluable project for Forest Park that will greatly improve the visitor experience and enhance the overall impression of the Park for our surrounding communities and visitors from around the world,” said Greg Hayes, Director of Parks, Recreation and Forestry for the City of St. Louis. “The steps taken on this project in recent years have been patient and deliberate, with the Forest Park Advisory Board playing a key role throughout the design process.”
Key Project Highlights
- Kit of Parts: These entry markers are designed as a kit of parts. The architectural elements can be configured in many ways to meet the context of each Park entry.
- Design: The entries draw upon the traditional design of creating a base, with a column and top (capital). The simple interpretation draws upon the various plinths and walls that adorn the Emerson Grand Basin.
- Distinct: While the overall project takes advantage of a strategic kit of parts, each location will be unique and include tailored levels of landscaping, paving and lighting — all appropriate to the individual setting.
- Materials: Highly durable Indiana limestone will be used as the key material —one which visitors already see on the Saint Louis Art Museum and Missouri History Museum. Full block stone will be used as a permanent solution that needs minimal maintenance.
- Thoughtful Hierarchy: The kit of parts uses three different heights, so that appropriate thresholds are created for those in cars and on foot or bicycle.
- Calming: These entries are designed to provide traffic calming as vehicles enter the Park
Eight Entrance Sites
The location of the eight sites for these Forest Park entrance markers are (going clockwise from the Park’s southwest edge):
- Hampton (near I-64)
The City and Forest Park Forever selected the first of these to launch the project. The new arrival experience will be another improvement to this southwest corner of the Park, which has been undergoing more than $2 million in road, crosswalk, sidewalk and path upgrades.
The next two sites in the design stages are the entrances at Lagoon/Forsyth/Skinker near Washington University and DeBaliviere/Lindell near the Missouri History Museum.
As a whole, this entrance project comes on the heels of the well-received new $1.1 million way-finding system introduced in the Park in 2014 and funded by Forest Park Forever.
About Forest Park Forever
Founded in 1986, Forest Park Forever is a private nonprofit conservancy that works in partnership with the City of St. Louis and the Department of Parks, Recreation and Forestry to restore, maintain and sustain Forest Park as one of America’s greatest urban public parks.
Along with the City of St. Louis, Forest Park Forever raised $100 million between 1995 and 2003 and dramatically restored many landmark destinations in Forest Park, including the Emerson Grand Basin, the Boathouse and the Jewel Box.
Today, Forest Park Forever maintains Forest Park with the City of St. Louis; raises funds for and helps manage capital restoration projects called for in the Forest Park Master Plan; delivers experiential educational opportunities to teachers, students and adults; and provides information and guides for the Park’s 13 million annual visitors. Not part of the Zoo-Museum Tax District, Forest Park Forever is supported by private donations from throughout the community, including its 7,000 members, 1,100 volunteers and many leading community and corporate partners.
Connect with us at facebook.com/forestparkforever, twitter.com/forestpark4ever and instagram.com/forestparkforever.