Parkland Under Pressure

Should parks be given to developers?

How do you feel about losing 40 Acres of Public Parkland?

What is going on?

St. Louis County Government is considering giving away 40 acres of public parkland to become a private ice hockey training and practice facility.  The land is currently a part of Creve Coeur Lake Park in the St. Louis County Park system.

What will the 40 acres be used for?untitled

The St. Louis Ice Center would feature four sheets of ice to host youth and collegiate hockey as well as Blues practice sessions, according to KTVI.  The St. Louis Business Journals reported in May that the proposed St. Louis Ice Center would be built on land currently owned by St. Louis County just south of Highway 141 near Creve Coeur Lake Park.  The team is working on a plan for the county to donate the land; a nonprofit would run the center.

An approximate location of the proposed facility is marked with a “ ” on the map at right.

Why are we concerned?

When parkland is sold or given away, residents lose valuable, irreplaceable resources in our community.  Once urban parkland is disposed of, the chances of getting it back are almost non-existent.

Creve Coeur Lake Park belongs to us, the residents.  For 40+ years, residents have paid taxes that have maintained it; it is our asset.  Urban parks, such as this one, enhance surrounding home values, provide recreational opportunities for local residents, are home to a variety of wildlife, provide habitat for trees that filter air pollution, provide adequate space & filtration for storm water runoff, provide aesthetic beauty, and so much more.  Creve Coeur Lake Park’s annual attendance exceeds over 1 million people, making it the most heavily visited St. Louis County Park.

This land is valuable as park space; Because of this, we don’t believe in giving it away.  When someone desires to build an office building or a house, they look for private land for sale, purchase it and build it.  When someone wants to build a privatized ice rink, they should look for private land for sale, purchase it and build it.  One does not look for public parkland that you can acquire for free and then privatize to benefit one’s business.  There are viable options for this project in the region and they should be explored.

If we, as residents, allow parkland to be taken for private development now, we must ask ourselves where does it stop?  Will portions of Faust Park become a shopping center?  Queeny Park the next private resort and spa?  Should Lone Elk Park be considered for the region’s next manufacturing plant?

What happens to the property in another 40 years when the sheets of ice are in poor shape and it can no longer be used?  We don’t know.  But what we do know is that the property will be in private hands, it will not be parkland, and it will be too expensive for taxpayers to convert it back to public open space at that time.

What can I do?

Call your Councilperson today and attend the public meeting on January 25th at 6pm!

This loss of parkland is detrimental to the St. Louis County Park system as a whole.  Once parkland is disposed of, we cannot regain use of it and it sets a dangerous precedent for the future of all parks.  We must send a clear message NOW that public parkland is valuable to current and future residents and it should not be given away.

You can also reach out to your St. Louis County Councilperson to let them know that you don’t want parkland to be given away.  Find your district here.

Hazel Erby, District 1, (314) 615-5436, HErby@stlouisco.com

Dr. Sam Page, District 2, (314) 615-5437, SPage@stlouisco.com

Colleen Wassinger, District 3, (314) 615-5438, CWasinger@stlouisco.com

Rochelle Walton Gray, District 4, (314) 615-5439, RGray@stlouisco.com

Pat Dolan, District 5,  (314) 615-5441, PDolan@stlouisco.com

Ernie Trakas, District 6, (314) 615-5442, ETrakas@stlouisco.com

Mark Harder, District 7, (314) 615-5443, MHarder@stlouisco.com

When is the meeting?

The St. Louis County Department of Planning is holding an informational public hearing at 6:00 P.M. on Wednesday, January 25, 2017 in the County Council Chambers located at 41 S. Central Avenue, Clayton, Mo. 63105.  Residents will be given an opportunity to hear preliminary information about a future ice hockey training and practice facility at 13777 and 13750 Marine Avenue in the Creve Coeur Lake Memorial Park.  Sometimes, the public is given a chance to comment at these meetings; if you would like to do so, please show up 15 minutes early and sign up outside of the chamber room.