ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – Forest Park is a playground for thousands of St. Louisans on a daily basis.
But the group Forest Park Forever believes improvements can be made. They held a public open house Thursday evening to outline some potential ideas to boost “connectivity and mobility” around the vast park.
“How do we improve? How do we give people particularly using bikes and their feet in transit better access to the park and get them around?” according to Stephen Schenkenberg, Director of Strategic Communications for Forest Park Forever.
Last November the group teamed up with the City of St. Louis Department of Parks, Recreation and Forestry to begin gathering a broad swath of public input on ways to improve walking, biking and driving — as well as transit riding — throughout the park.
“We had more than 1,300 people from the community either respond to a survey or come here into the visitor center to give us their feedback on getting in and around Forest Park,” Schenkenberg said.
There were hundreds of ideas that were consolidated into nine potential strategic objectives – then were put back before the public for more input.
“We are excited to update the public about meaningful progress made on improving connectivity and mobility in Forest Park,” said Lesley S. Hoffarth, President and Executive Director of Forest Park Forever. “Strategies and concepts shared this evening are the culmination of nine months of valuable engagement with the public and park stakeholders. This is an important step in developing a long-term vision, in line with the Forest Park Master Plan, for improving how people get in and around this popular destination.”
Actual improvements could still be years down the road.
Funding for the various ideas in the study would come from numerous sources, and would depend on the type of project along with who is responsible for implementation.
The sources could include; grants, private donations, direct private investment (for projects adjacent to Forest Park), or funds administered by the city of St. Louis.
“This has been a thorough process with broad public input and meaningful collaboration across a number of groups that connect here in Forest Park,” suggested Greg Hayes, Director of Parks, Recreation and Forestry for the city of St. Louis. “This study is providing us with a fresh wide-ranging look at how to improve the experience of all Forest Park visitors, from walkers and bikers to drivers and those riding transit.”
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