Forest Park features safety tool that many don’t notice

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ST. LOUIS (KTVI) – A security tool at Forest Park is easy to overlook, but visitors say it makes a big difference.

Crews recently installed more than 600 light pole markers that can assist visitors who have an emergency.

Forest Park Forever Director of Planning and Projects David Lenczycki said each pole identifies an exact location, allowing police to respond and arrive on site immediately.

“Each one of those signs is coded into a GPS system,” Lenczycki said. “And you let the dispatch know, ‘Hey I’m in Forest Park I may not know exactly where I am.’ They’ve been trained to say, ‘Look to the nearest light pole.’”

Lenczycki said each marker can be thought of as a mailbox. He demonstrated how one particular light pole is coded.

“5-3-9-5 TH stands for ‘Theater Drive,” the drive that we’re on. It’s actually the address of this light pole,” he said.

Regulars to Forest Park say while they might not know the street names, they are very familiar with the landmarks. But cyclist Anthony Thomas says the GPS system is the best way to navigate if he is lost.

“If you’re at the light pole and you call the police, they’ll know where you’re at. I love it,” Thomas said.

More than 13 million visitors come to Forest Park each year. The light pole address markers make a big difference, particularly for newcomers.

The markers were recently put to the test. A woman who had a bad fall was in need of help. An employee of Forest Park Forever noted the location of the nearest light pole, and relayed the information to St. Louis Police. A responder was on location immediately.

The address markers were paid for through private donations to Forest Park Forever.