Forest Park Forever and the City of St. Louis Announce Reopening of Boeing Aviation Fields Following $3.3 Million in Improvements
Highlights of the project include adding LED lighting to all ball fields — including fields not previously lit — adding irrigation, and improving paths and parking access
On September 4, 2019, leaders from the nonprofit conservancy Forest Park Forever and the City of St. Louis cut the ribbon (click image above for names) on the new and improved Boeing Aviation Fields in Forest Park.
While Aviation Fields received an initial phase of restoration in the early 2000s, several fields continued to lack irrigation and lighting for evening play, and there were opportunities for significant improvements for how players and spectators enter and experience the popular ballfield complex and its amenities.
Funded by donors to Forest Park Forever’s Forever campaign, this new phase of project improvements began in December 2018 and include:
Adding LED lights to fields not previously lit, therefore expanding evening play
Retrofitting all previous lights to LED to improve lighting and save energy
Irrigating fields that previously had no irrigation
Planting nearly 50 canopy and evergreen trees and adding new landscaping (fall 2019)
Repairing and widening the inner path and improving the concession stand plaza
Creating a welcoming new pedestrian entry plaza
Re-routing the recreational path within the picturesque greenspace
Realigning parking along Clayton Rd. and the road toward the Horse Stables, gaining 70 additional free parking spaces
“We are excited to be opening these new and improved Forest Park ball fields that will be able to accommodate more teams,” said Greg Hayes, Director of Parks, Recreation and Forestry for the City of St. Louis. “With more fields irrigated and lit for evening play, Boeing Aviation Fields are now an even more attractive and player-friendly asset for the region’s baseball and softball teams.”
“Forest Park Forever is grateful to our generous campaign donors and our City of St. Louis partners for this latest improvement project in Forest Park,” said Lesley S. Hoffarth, P.E., President and Executive Director of Forest Park Forever. “From the new entry plaza to the site-wide LED lighting, the greatly improved Boeing Aviation Fields will be enjoyed by players and fans alike.”
This project also benefited from Ameren Missouri’s BizSavers program, which incentivizes the use of cost-effective energy-efficient lighting on projects throughout the region.
Companies that worked on this Aviation Fields improvement project include Cole, lead designer; SWT Design, part of the design team; and R.V. Wagner, lead contractor.
During 1920 – 21, the grounds where these fields sit served as a landing field for airmail service between St. Louis and Chicago — hence its current name. During Forest Park’s first major restoration between 1996 – 2003, these fields were dramatically improved, including reconfiguring the fields and providing amenities for athletes and fans.
The response from the public was overwhelming. When Boeing Aviation Fields reopened for play in 2003, it became the first premier baseball/softball complex in the City of St. Louis. The number of leagues utilizing the fields has grown by 10% per year, to the point that today all the favored evening time slots are booked. In past years, the City of St. Louis has had to turn teams away that were looking for evening play times. These new 2019 improvements will result in more games being able to be played by teams from throughout the region.
“Yearly, Boeing and our employees donate approximately $15 million dollars in the St. Louis region. We are proud to have donated more than $3 million dollars to Forest Park. Our St. Louis site continues to grow following major program wins and we continue to hire engineers and mechanics to support our growth.”