Portions of Two Key Forest Park Roads to be Reconstructed & Improved During Winter 2016/17 and Spring 2017

While sections of Government & Wells Drives are dramatically improved for greater visitor safety and enjoyment, visitor access will be restricted

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Katy Peace, Marketing & Digital Media Manager | kpeace@forestparkforever.org | 314.561.3290

ST. LOUIS, December 8, 2016 – Road closures will begin on Wednesday, December 14, 2016, for a Forest Park restoration project that is among the most requested by visitors: rebuilding and improving portions of Government and Wells Drives, which take many visitors to the Saint Louis Zoo and Saint Louis Art Museum, among other Park destinations. In recent years, visitors trying to navigate these streets by car, on bike or on foot have been challenged by crumbling roads that offer plenty of potholes, a lack of designated crossings, partial or no sidewalks and no visitor amenities.

Managed by the City of St. Louis and funded by private donations to Forest Park Forever’s current Forever capital campaign, this restoration project will dramatically improve the experience of millions of visitors and elevate the Forest Park experience to even greater heights. Highlights of this project include:

  • Completely rebuilt roads
  • New safe pedestrian crossings
  • Improved sidewalks, plus 2.2 miles of new sidewalks
  • Gathering places for visitor orientation and enjoyment
  • 29 on-street rain gardens
  • New efficient LED lighting
  • 153 newly planted trees
  • Net gain of 27 free on-street parking spaces

Project renderings by SWT Design

Construction will begin in December 2016 and is anticipated to be substantially complete in June 2017, in time for Forest Park’s busiest season. A few important notes:

  • During construction of these portions of the roads, access will be restricted.
  • The Saint Louis Zoo’s north and south parking lots will remain open during construction, accessible from the east.
  • There will be onsite signage about closures and re-routes.
  • Forest Park Forever will use its Twitter and Facebook channels, its forestparkmap.org web app and a special page on its website, forestparkforever.org/construction, to update visitors about progress and reroutes.
  • Signage and staff in the Visitor Center will communicate access information to visitors.
  • Park visitors planning to use the Skinker/Wells entrance should instead enter the Park via Lagoon off Skinker, via Tamm off Oakland or via Hampton.

“As Forest Park visitors know, these two roads have been in need of major improvements for many years,” said Greg Hayes, Director of Parks, Recreation and Forestry for the City of St. Louis. “When this project is complete in 2017, Park visitors using this area will have a safer and more enjoyable experience, whether they are traveling on foot, by bike, on transit or in their cars.”

“We are thrilled to be partnering with the City of St. Louis to complete this significant restoration project,” said Lesley S. Hoffarth, P.E., President and Executive Director of Forest Park Forever. “Millions of visitors use these crumbling roads to visit the Park’s renowned cultural institutions and natural spaces, and their experience will be dramatically improved. We are grateful to our generous donors for supporting this exciting project.” 

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/forestparkforevertwitter.com/forestpark4ever and instagram.com/forestparkforever.

About Forest Park

Forest Park in St. Louis, Missouri, is considered one of the nation’s greatest urban public parks. The Park’s 1,300 acres feature beautiful landscapes sprinkled with forests, ecosystems, nature reserves, lakes and streams, as well as five of the region’s major cultural institutions and endless opportunities for recreation. Forest Park attracts 13 million visitors each year, making it the sixth most visited urban park in the United States. In 2016, Forest Park was voted the #1 City Park in the country by readers of USA Today.