ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. (KMOX) – An effort to block development of a large ice hockey complex in Creve Coeur Lake Memorial Park is rapidly gaining support.
Launched with an initial goal of at least 5,000 online signatures on Change.org, the petition from a group calling itself “Save Creve Coeur Lake Park” now has around 6,000 names and is heading toward a new goal of at least 7,500.
“I wouldn’t want to see any part of the park taken away,” said Kim Brady as she prepared to jog through the park with a friend. “Because there are so many people that come out here and so many people that use it.”
According to their statement on Change.org, opponents of the ice rink project love the park the way it is “because it is a quiet space to enjoy the water, birds, trees and natural environment.”
They say taking a 40-acre chunk out of it for a large glass-and-steel structure that would, among other things, serve as a practice facility for the St. Louis Blues – is not the right path for the future.
They’re also upset because “neither the public in general nor (St. Louis) County taxpayers specifically got a chance to vote on this giveaway of public park land.”
“I mean, why build it in the park?” asked park-goer Beth Kroger. “They (the Blues) practiced in the Mills (Mall) and I understand that whole area is going under. Obviously it didn’t work there, so why do they think if they move it somewhere else it’s going to work?”
St. Louis County and the group spearheading the project, the St. Louis Legacy Ice Foundation, describe the ice complex as a “tremendous” project that will bring in youth hockey teams from all throughout the Midwest – even nationwide.
The Blues themselves would make a $7 million capital contribution toward the project’s cost according to financial details that have been made public.
Still Scott Poole, who wind-surfs on the lake, remains unconvinced.
“I’m against it just because the park is so pristine as it is, and when you add more (development) you add more people, which is fine that’s what (the park) is for,” he explained. “But the lake should be the center point. Know what I mean? That’s the park.”
The signatures being gathered on the online petition, will be turned over to the National Park Service. They must also sign off on the project before it can become a reality.