ST. LOUIS – A transformation is underway at the Dome at America’s Center after FOX 2 reported about the jungle of weeds overtaking the parking lots.

The lots are needed as staging areas for the Bands of America Super Regional high school marching band competition, which starts Friday morning. The parking lots were mostly covered with weeds up to seven feet tall. It was less than 48 hours before 69 bands and their buses from 10 states began showing up.

To help, Explore St. Louis, which operates the Dome, called in workers from a landscaping company. About six workers, armed with weed trimmers and one with a large push mower, attacked four square blocks of weed-covered lots.

Brian Hall, Chief Marketing Officer for Explore St. Louis, told FOX 2 the effort was planned all along but delayed due to the fact that Explore St. Louis did not have access to the gated lots until this week. A developer named Paul McKee owned the lots.

Volunteers tried to clean up trash from the lots last weekend but couldn’t because of the weeds. The concerns were heightened because band members couldn’t “stage” among the weeds and trash, and their buses certainly, couldn’t go there. Three days later, nothing had changed.

“It’s enormously important for bands that they have an area to stage. They have a lot of motorcoaches coming in from all over the Midwest,” Hall said. “I can certainly understand their concern, but they were unaware of the fact that we had a plan in place to make sure that it was ready for the competition.”

The event is expected to draw about 16,000 visitors and generate $6 million in direct spending in St. Louis over Friday and Saturday. Hall said 4,200 hotel rooms have been booked.

FOX 2 reached out to Alderman James Page of the 5th Ward about the weeds. His ward includes the Dome and the lots. Page called in more help: a contractor with a tractor pulling a brush mower plus an extra riding mower.

“When I learned about the conditions, I came out yesterday, did a complete photo analysis, and started making some phone calls,” Page said. “It’s just a matter of bringing the right resources to bear on whatever challenge or opportunity we face and look today, 24 hours…totally different!”

McKee told FOX 2 via email that the lots were leased to the Dome for parking and upkeep. Hall denied that.

The volunteer group, which consists of past and present St. Louis area band parents, planned to return to pick up trash on Thursday afternoon.

Hall welcomed the help but said it wasn’t needed.

“What I appreciate is their civic pride. We share that in common. It’s great that they care,” he said. “I just want to reassure them and let them know that we care, too, and we’re going to make sure that it’s ready.”

Bands of America has been holding events at the Dome since 1997. Hall said he expects that to continue for years to come.

The weeds were virtually gone by Wednesday night.