Park Care & Maintenance
Highlights of Our Work the City of St. Louis
Forest Park is a place of continual care and improvement. Across 1,300 acres, week in and week out, there is always work to be done. Thanks to generous support from the community and our strong partnership with the City of St. Louis, during 2017 we accomplished a great deal in the areas of land stewardship — horticultural, ecological and arboreal — and facilities and hardscape maintenance. From repaving roads to kicking off major capital projects like overhauling Central Fields, from planting 38,000 bulbs and 1,852 trees, this past year was one of strategic and thoughtful care across the Park.
Below, we detail a few of the projects we've worked on alongside our partners at the City of St. Louis (you can find several more on our Conservation & Sustainability page). The interactive map at the bottom of the page shows an even more comprehensive look at what we worked on in 2017.
Cutting the Ribbon at Government & Wells Drives
After six months of construction, Government & Wells Drives reopened on time and on budget. This successfully completed $6 million project, funded by donors to our Forever campaign, was celebrated with an opening ceremony on August 17. A crowd of City leaders, Park partner organizations and supporters gathered near the newly constructed roundabout connecting Government and Wells to hear remarks from Mayor Lyda Krewson, Forest Park Forever President & Executive Director Lesley Hoffarth and Parks Director Greg Hayes.
In early June, Forest Park Forever and City of St. Louis staff were joined by campaign supports, Park users (including a few very young soccer players) and members of the media to celebrate the start of a major Park improvement project: the renovation of Forest Park's Central Fields. This $5.8 million project has been funded primarily by private donations to the Forever campaign, including a lead gift from Emerson.
Liberal Arts Bridge & Muny Tributary
At the end of August, the FPF team, our City partners and campaign donors broke ground on a Forever project that will holistically improve a key location in the heart of the Park. The Muny Tributary will undergo significant natural enhancements and Liberal Arts Bridge will be replaced with a new safer bridge connecting Government Drive to Pagoda Circle and featuring updated sidewalks, new crossings and a new connection to Forest Park’s path system. (The bridge reopened in early 2018.)
Drainage Repair at the Boathouse Beds
A well-traveled area in front of the iconic Boathouse had been experiencing an ongoing issue: flooding. Thanks to a recent maintenance project, this problem has been fixed. Underground trench drains were installed along the raised beds to better accommodate rainwater, and a cobblestone border was installed along the beds to improve their drainage. Now, visitors to this area won't have to avoid puddles as they walk and the garden beds will be healthier and easier to take care of.
Kennedy Forest's Vernal Pond
Vernal ponds are temporary pools of water that provide habitat for particular plants and animals. Kennedy Forest had been home to a vernal pond, but after several years it no longer functioned as a healthy habitat. Our Nature Reserve team and City partners, with support from the Kennedy Woods Advisory Group, renovated this vernal pond and celebrated its successful completion in June. The completed vernal pond now provides a new, healthy habitat for wildlife and another place of quiet contemplation in Kennedy Forest.
A Kitchen Garden in the Heart of the Park
FPF Horticulturist Patrick Greenwald and his team created a kitchen garden-style display this summer at the Boathouse. The display was an evolving showstopper throughout the summer, including over 40 different plant species.
Bulb Planting for Spring
From Lagoon Drive on the west side to Steinberg Skating Rink on the east side, our horticulturists, gardeners and volunteers were busy all winter planting over 38,000 tulip bulbs in beds across Forest Park.
Fixing a Landslide Near I-64
The sloped hillside just south of I-64 recently suffered from a landslide. The 9,400-square foot area — which is indeed part of Forest Park — underwent repairs to fix the slope failure and add new plantings to create a prairie-like natural space. the new plantings should stop the slop from succumbing to landslides in the future.
Rock Work at Picnic Island
This natural getaway between the Emerson Grand Basin and the Boathouse has long featured rock beaches with riffles. Over the last decade, our routine annual maintenance hasn't kept up with the wear and tear and larger erosion happening. Last summer, we funded a larger maintenance project to restore the beach areas, clear out invasive species and install more than 12 tons of new rock.
Endowment Dollars at Work
A key component of the Forever campaign was building the Park's endowment so that there would always be dollars on hand for pressing maintenance needs. In 2017, we were able to invest about $3 million in Park improvements above and beyond routine annual maintenance, thanks to this expanded endowment. From restoring Kerth Fountain (pictured above) to overhauling the handball courts to repaving roads and sections of the recreational path, completing these special projects has meant a continued exceptional experience for Forest Park's millions of visitors from around the world.
Interactive Park Project Map
Click the orange markers on the map below to learn more about the improvements that were made in Forest Park last year.