ST. LOUIS, June 15, 2017 (STL.NEWS) – After a six-month construction project to overhaul and improve Forest Park’s Government and Wells Drives, the roads are reopening to traffic in time for the Park’s busy summer season. This $6 million Park improvement project, which was managed by the City of St. Louis and funded by private donations to Forest Park Forever’s Forever capital campaign, met this key milestone of substantial completion on time and on budget. The roads will officially reopen to traffic on Friday, June 16, 2017. Additional landscaping and installation of amenities will continue through the summer and early fall.
In recent years, the poor condition of Government and Wells Drives has been a frequent visitor inquiry and concern. More than a century old, these heavily traveled roads were in serious need of repairs. Potholes and a lack of designated sidewalks and crossings posed challenges to the many visitors who used these roads to access the Saint Louis Zoo, Saint Louis Art Museum and other Park destinations.
Highlights of this successful Park improvement project include:
Completely rebuilt roads
Improved sidewalks, plus 2.2 miles of new sidewalks (ADA-accessible)
New safe pedestrian crossings (ADA-accessible)
Gathering places for visitor orientation and enjoyment
18 on-street rain gardens
New efficient LED lighting
153 newly planted trees
Net gain of 27 free on-street parking spaces
“Government and Wells are two of the most highly traveled in Forest Park and have certainly been in need of renovation,” said Greg Hayes, Director of Parks, Recreation and Forestry for the City of St. Louis. “We are thrilled to reopen them in advance of Forest Park’s busy summer season and look forward to this safer, more usable infrastructure better serving allPark visitors who use it.”
“An important part of the Forest Park experience is getting from one place to another safely and enjoyably,” said Lesley S. Hoffarth, P.E., President and Executive Director of Forest Park Forever. “We are so pleased that visitors using these key Forest Park roads will have a dramatically improved experience, and that we’ve been able to make the area more sustainable in the process. Forest Park Forever is proud to partner with the City of St. Louis on this essential project. We are grateful to our generous donors who have helped make this project possible, and to the Saint Louis Zoo Association for our valued partnership.”
This project was funded thanks to the generosity of donors to Forever: The Campaign for Forest Park’s Future. You can learn more about this ambitious $130 million capital campaign, which is in its final year, by visiting theforevercampaign.org.
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.
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.