ST PETERS, Mo. – The City Centre Park is a historical place, with literal roots dating back nearly 200 years. The city is making history with a new addition.

Construction is underway on a sensory trail behind Ollie’s Fun Forest. The thought of the opportunities this new trail will create is already touching the hearts of locals.

Adding to the energetic area where Ollie’s Fun Forest was built around a year ago, another new element is contributing to the park’s growth. The sensory trail will amplify the experiences to tap into your sense, only this time, the city wants to bring you inside the city’s old-growth forest. The first-of-its-kind, it will feature ADA amenities for children who may have never had the experience to hike in a forest.

Jon Sweeney, the park’s horticulture foreman, said the community’s input has been key in advancing the project.

“One of the important things of the project is trying to get community involvement,” he said.

Whether it’s through donations or adding to the park’s design elements, Sweeney said it’s a great way to be a part of its formation.

If you head to the site on behind Ollie’s Fun Forest and next to St. Peters City Hall, you’ll see forklifts, big bricks, and lots of orange fencing. At present, the parks team is in Phase 1 of construction and already making significant progress.

“The idea is to get people to explore in the forest,” Sweeney said. “There will be educational opportunities to learn about trees and bugs and rocks.”

The final design showcases several additions around the premises of the park, from bridges to boardwalks, and even educational opportunities. The rendering adds ADA adaptions throughout the area.

“For kids who aren’t able to get out in the forest, this will be a paved way to do that successfully,” Sweeney said.

But he’s not the only one who sees the need.

“I mean, when you’re a kid, that’s what you do, you go to the playground. That’s a part of growing up,” said resident Annette Stephan, who the packed playground with her grandsons on Wednesday. “The opportunity for everyone to be able to enjoy that and experience that is awesome.”

The power behind the plan and the progress at the park is already impacting locals like Stephan, who said. she’s gained a new sense of community.

“I’m very proud to be a citizen here in St Pete’s,” she said.

City leadership expects to finish the project by the end of this year.