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Trails and greenway connections are the goal for community planning and development in the St. Louis and and St. Charles County region.

arrowThis project was nominated for a Trail Sharing Award as part of the 2008 National Trails Awards, announced at the 19th National Trails Symposium in Little Rock, Arkansas.


Great Rivers Greenway District works for St. Louis region trails system

The Great Rivers Greenway District is the public organization leading the development of a region-wide system of interconnected greenways, parks and trails, known as the River Ring. The River Ring will join two states and cover an area of 1,216 square miles.  The Greenway District was established in November 2000 by the successful passage of the Clean Water, Safe Parks and Community Trails Initiative (Proposition C) in St. Louis City, St. Louis County and St. Charles County, Missouri. 

One accomplishment is the development of a new 85-acre park with the first three miles of trail along the Dardenne Greenway at BaratHaven in St. Charles County, Missouri. Completed in June 2007, it is the first major park within the City of Dardenne Prairie, Missouri, a growing community that recently celebrated its 25th anniversary.

photo of trail and bridge in park

Bike-Ped bridge at BaratHaven, part of the River Ring


Leadership in planning and design innovation began when land for the project was acquired by The Greenway District in 2005 though a public-private partnership with McEagle Properties LLC, Vantage Homes, and WingHaven Residential Owners Association, LLC. In addition to the 85 acres for the park within the BaratHaven development, the acquisition included an additional 80 acres of wetlands and bottomland forest adjacent to BaratHaven that was donated to the Greenway District by the WingHaven Residential Owners Association.


The 85-acre park and 3-mile trail are located within BaratHaven, a 165-acre master plan community featuring residential, commercial and educational areas. As part of an innovative development that also includes housing, a school, athletic facilities, and commercial areas, the project exemplifies how individual components developed through a partnership enhance each other, i.e., housing is more valuable next to a park and school; school is enriched by adjacent nature study area and bike trail. Most importantly, it has successfully challenged people to think about their surroundings in new and different ways.

As the first major park within a growing community, the park adds tangible value to Dardenne Prairie by addressing residents’ strong desire for access to trails and recreational amenities. Not only is the Dardenne Greenway special because of the connections it creates between communities, allowing for shared access to amenities and services, it is also a testament to innovative planning and design. Integrating trails, greenways, wetlands and recreational facilities into the residential, commercial, educational, institutional and public green space at BaratHaven represents one of the most unique community planning efforts in the St. Louis region.


The new park and greenway trail at BaratHaven was developed as a public-private partnership between the Great Rivers Greenway District, McEagle Properties LLC, Vantage Homes, Hayden Homes, the City of Dardenne Prairie and Barat Academy.

photo of young people on trail

Students studing the Oxbow at BaratHaven


Despite significant population growth over the last few years, the City of Dardenne Prairie had no park and recreational amenities. The City of Dardenne Prairie, under the leadership of Mayor Pam Fogarty, was completely committed to the project’s success from its inception. In addition to actively participating in the entire planning and design process, the City of Dardenne Prairie agreed to long term maintenance of the park, ensuring that it would remain an important public amenity for recreational users, as well as an impressive showcase for the community.

The City’s participation was critical to the project because the Greenway District would not have been able to build the park without a commitment from the City of Dardenne Prairie to take full responsibility for providing ongoing operations and maintenance services after construction was completed.


Another planning and design innovation was accomplished with a 99-year agreement from the Great Rivers Greenway District to lease 25 acres of the park land to Barat Academy, a private, independent faith-based high school that opened in fall 2007, to construct athletic facilities for use by students and the general public. As a result, the park provides an extraordinary “outdoor classroom” for students to learn firsthand about the area’s streams and native environment, while providing recreation amenities for the public that would not have existed without the school’s participation.



The Dardenne Greenway at BaratHaven received two awards in 2007, including a Leadership in Planning and Design Innovation Award from the East-West Gateway Council of Governments and a Partnership Award from the National Recreation and Park Association’s (NRPA) Great Lakes Region.

For more information:

Great Rivers Greenway District
1000 St. Louis Union Station, Ste. 102, St. Louis, MO 63103
(314) 436-7009

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