ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – Forest Park has come a long way since Forest Park Forever first began its work in the 90’s. Now the group is raising $130 million to keep the momentum going. $30 million of that is for immediate improvements.
“The bridge by the boathouse that’s had construction fence on it for as long as I’ve been at Forest Park Forever, so at least eight years now, is getting rebuilt, and the waterway and the meadow underneath is getting redone. Central Fields, where the balloon race and Loufest are held, that’s getting an overhaul as well,” says Forest Park Forever executive director Leslie Hoffarth.
Hoffarth says the roads around the zoo will be rebuilt and sidewalks and crosswalks will be expanded and get better lighting, and the waterways are due for an overhaul.
“They are all their own water bodies, and they’re all fed by city water, so that takes a lot of water. So the vision from the master plan that was done 20 years ago was to connect all of these water bodies and recirculate the water so that less fresh water is pumped in, more is recirculated. It’s healthier for the wildlife, uses less water, and is better overall for sustainability,” Hoffarth says.
But with all the improvements, why isn’t there a single basketball court?
“There’s certain parts of the park that were designated as active recreation spaces. As far as actual plans to move forward with putting basketball in the park, I’m not aware of any right now,” Hoffarth says.
Some question why there aren’t any basketball courts in the flagship park of a majority African-American city. Hoffarth says Forest Park’s advisory board, made up of 25 people appointed by the mayor, ultimately has to make the decision and then has to come up with the funding.