ST. LOUIS NEWS TODAY -
$10.5 Million Project to Transform Forest Park's East Waterways
At this popular site for fishing and scenic enjoyment, $10.5 million will reshape and enlarge Jefferson Lake, create more natural opportunities for fishing, add a boardwalk and picnic pavilion and replace the fishing dock. Rendering by SWT Design
ST. LOUIS, MO, (SLFP.com), November 4, 2019 - Over the past 20 years, the lakes and streams within Forest Park have been gradually linked together and transformed into connected waterways. This effort, as envisioned by the 1995 Forest Park Master Plan, has reshaped the way visitors interact with water in Forest Park. The designs announced today bring to completion these plans created by the community more than two decades ago.
Recently nonprofit conservancy Forest Park Forever and the City of St. Louis announced plans to restore and greatly improve one of Forest Park's most iconic and beloved features: the river system and lakes enjoyed by visitors and wildlife alike.
Highlights of this $10.5 million project include:
Focused on the waterways on the eastern side of Forest Park, which to date have not been restored like those in the center and on the western half, this project has four central sites:
- Beautifying three lakes, improving access to the shorelines and adding visitor amenities;
- Creating a new channel and adding underground recirculation and stormwater collection systems to fully connect the Park's river system and reduce water use;
- Creating a new visitor overlook and waterfall at Jefferson Lake
- Planting nearly 500 new trees
Round Lake: At this circular Forest Park lake, the project will replace the historic, malfunctioning fountain (maintaining the historic character), restore and enhance the shoreline, plant a new generation of bald cypress trees and build an underground water connection to the nearby river system, eliminating the constant need for the current potable water input.
New Channel Connecting River System to Jefferson Lake: Forest Park's river system currently ends just northwest of Steinberg Skating Rink. A new channel will extend the river system so that it connects to Jefferson Lake to the south. Features will include a cascade and gravel bar, picnic lawn and meadow, footbridge, visitor trails and seating area.
Jefferson Lake: At this popular site for fishing and scenic enjoyment, the project will reshape and enlarge the lake, create more natural opportunities for fishing, add a boardwalk and picnic pavilion, replace the fishing dock, create a cascading waterfall and overlook along Clayton Ave., and build an underground connection for water flow from Bowl Lake to Jefferson Lake.
Seven Pools & Bowl Lake: The distinctive and historic water feature Seven Pools and its historic bridge will be restored. Bowl Lake, which in recent years has been overtaken by invasive species and lotus, will be dredged, deepened, reshaped and refilled; new plantings will enhance the landscape; new shoreline areas or landings will be available for Park visitors; spaces will be created for educational programming with community organizations in mind; and a new berm at the south end will create more of a buffer from I-64.
"We are absolutely thrilled to announce this transformative project to the community," said Lesley S. Hoffarth, President and Executive Director of Forest Park Forever. "For millions of visitors, Forest Park's river system and lakes are central to their enjoyment. The Park's waterways also play an important role as a wildlife corridor for the region, and we are proud of our ongoing work to preserve and improve these natural features. I would like to thank the generous Forest Park Forever donors who have made these improvements possible and our City of St. Louis partners."
"This project greatly improves Forest Park itself and the visitor experience," said Greg Hayes, Director of Parks, Recreation and Forestry for the City of St. Louis. "In addition, by completing the final connection of the waterways, we are achieving a number of meaningful sustainability wins, including reducing the need for municipal water into the system, capturing stormwater runoff, improving the water quality and increasing the biodiversity here in the Park."
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Importance of the River System
Meandering for 2.5 nautical miles from west to east, the river system is the backbone of Forest Park, the singular feature that stretches across the majority of the Park's 1,300 acres. Together with the riparian buffer around it, the river system is beloved by Park visitors and an important corridor providing water, shelter and forage for wildlife. The waterway is home to ducks, turtles, mink, egrets, herons and more.
River Naming in Honor of Jack C. Taylor
The City of St. Louis and Forest Park Forever are pleased to announce that the river system that flows through Forest Park has been named the Taylor Kindle River, in honor of the late Jack C. Taylor and his extraordinary support of the Park over many decades.
"Jack Taylor was a visionary civic leader and benefactor for the St. Louis region, including Forest Park," said Lesley S. Hoffarth. "We are pleased that his legacy will continue to be honored with the Taylor Kindle River that flows through the park he loved and supported so much."
Following the project's completion, the new ongoing maintenance costs for this project area will be funded by Forest Park Forever's donor-supported annual budget and the City of St. Louis Department of Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department.
Construction will break ground on this project during the first half of 2020 and take between 18-24 months to complete. Forest Park Forever and the City will update visitors throughout construction about how the work may impact visitor access.
The project will create a cascading waterfall and overlook along Clayton Ave., and build an underground connection for water flow from Bowl Lake to Jefferson Lake. Rendering by SWT Design
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