Forest Park continues improvements with connecting waterways project

ST. LOUIS -Connecting its waterways to help the environment and enhance the visitor experience. It’s one of many projects that Forest Park is tackling. It isn’t the first time one of America’s best parks has earned bragging rights as it continues to make itself even more appealing.

“Forest Park is a jewel of St. Louis,” said Frank Kartmann Senior Vice President of Park Operations.

As a final capstone project for Forest Park Forever’s capital campaign about $8 million of private, public and donated money will be spent to physically and aesthetically link the east waterways. That includes Jefferson, Bowl and Oxbow Lakes.

“We have plans to add a pavilion and a picnic area as well as a waterfall and a cascade,” Kartmann said.

“Our goal here is to really re-establish a new landscape that’s much more performative and sustainable,” said Ted Spaid of SWT Design. “I want to connect people to nature and learn how to fish catch butterflies stick your feet in the water.”

Spaid added that the improvements are necessary.

“Right now we have a series of open spaces that are all just lawns and trees and we have sewers that have some problems along the way and we have eroded edges of the Jefferson Lake.”

The park also has a special citizens advisory board committee that serves as the public eyes and ears when it comes to making changes to the park.

That includes Alderman Scott Ogilvie of Ward 24.

“Just thinking about how we balance the needs of residents who live close to the park,” the alderman said, “I just look at the details to make sure we’re doing things right.”

Construction is scheduled to begin next year and expected to be complete by 2020.