SOUTH COUNTY, Mo. - St. Louis County is close to selling the southern half of Sylvan Springs Park to the federal government for the expansion of Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery. This issue has been talked about in the past but now it appears likely that it will happen.
Our partners at The Post Dispatch reports that by a six to nothing vote Tuesday night, the St. Louis County Council advanced a bill that would allow the purchase to go forward.
Under the legislation, County Executive Steve Stenger would be authorized to sell nearly 35 acres of the park to the Department of Veterans Affairs for $2.4 million.
The lower half of the park is the area that would be sold under this deal however, it wouldn`t close right away.
The Post reports that the V.A. would lease the land back to the county for about ten years until it`s needed for new burials. The St. Louis County Parks director says the county would reinvest the proceeds from the sale into the rest of the park.
Jefferson Barracks is one of the five busiest national cemeteries in the country and it`s the only national cemetery in our region that is accepting new burials. In 2012 the cemetery added 15 acres from the nearby V.A. Medical Center and is expected to add 15 acres from the medical center. Those acquisitions should extend the burial capacity to 2028.
After that, the land at Sylvan Springs Park across the street Jefferson Barracks Cemetery would be used. This expansion would give the cemetery an additional 20 years of capacity.
In that past concerns have been raised about losing park space for this purpose and there is a move to put any future county sales of parkland before a public vote.
however, county leaders say this sale was committed to back in 2015.
A final vote is expected at the next county council meeting in a week.