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The plan would create create 200 miles of connected greenways in the St. Louis region.


Map of Missouri

St. Louis 2004's Task Force on Parks and Open Space initiated a proposal to create 200 miles of connected greenways throughout the metropolitan region. The greenway system would connect parks and neighborhoods and would serve as a linear park for both recreational use and for preserving and restoring natural areas.

The greenways idea has been well supported at community forums. Different areas in our region have different ideas about what the most exciting benefits of the system would be. In some areas, people expressed a desire to preserve open space and natural resources for future generations; in others citizens wanted more safe recreation opportunities.

The Parks and Open Space Task Force has studied the best practices of similar greenway systems in other cities around the United States and has also learned from the Conservation Fund, a national non-profit which is an expert in the field, that greenways tend to enhance both the local economies in communities which have greenways and the property values of those who live near greenways.

"We want the greenways to reflect what our citizens want."

Regional Greenway System:

With the continued commitment of our volunteer task force, we will establish a planning team which will work at the grassroots level to create a more detailed plan of the greenway system. We want the greenways to reflect what our citizens want. They should be located in places where people want them and should offer amenities which will be used. We anticipate hiring a person who will coordinate this effort along with a firm who can help integrate our conceptual plan with existing community or municipal greenway plans and with the ideas we receive through our community outreach.

To create the regional system, we will first need to work with the legislatures in Missouri and Illinois to create an enabling statute which will allow each county in the region to decide, in a general election, whether it wants to participate in a regional greenway district. The voters would also decide whether they would support a tax which would fund the creation of the system. We anticipate that such an election would take place in the fall of 1999 or 2000. The administration of the district would be small and would have the ability to enter into contracts with existing entities such as municipal park departments, neighborhood organizations and other groups who could aid in the building and maintenance of the system. We will continue to work on the draft legislation and anticipate that it will be taken up by both Illinois and Missouri in the next legislative session, Spring 1999.

The initial estimated total cost to create the 200 mile regional greenway system is between $80 million to $120 million. Additional sums will be required for maintenance once the system is created.

Confluence Greenway:

Additionally, St. Louis 2004 will support the efforts of a group of non-profits who have partnered with each other to create what they are calling the "Confluence Greenway". The Confluence Greenway would be a linear park on both sides of the Mississippi River from roughly the Arch grounds reaching all the way to the Missouri River and beyond. Many sections of this greenway have been underway for some time, and St. Louis 2004 lauds the creation of a partnership whose members understand that great things happen when we work together. The partnering organizations include Trailnet, Inc., Grace Hill Americorps, Greenway Network, Operation New Spirit, and the Greater East St. Louis Community Fund. Existing public entities have offered their support to this effort as well including the Missouri Department of Conservation and the Southwestern Illinois Resource Conservation & Development Agency.

The Confluence Greenway will require that masterplanning be conducted. St. Louis 2004, members of the Parks and Open Space Task Force, and a member from each of the partnering organizations will identify the team which will be hired to lead the Confluence Greenway partners through the masterplanning effort.

The initial estimated budget for the Confluence Greenway is $25 million.

October 1997

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