Photo Credit: Larry Williams
The 20th anniversary of the Great Flood of '93 is getting some attention this month, including this editorial in the St. Louis Post Dispatch
on the current state of development in floodplains.
Our favorite snippet from the article is this: '“We said, if you don’t need to develop in a flood plain, don’t do it,” retired Brig. Gen. Gerald Galloway told the Post-Dispatch in 2005, when, more than a decade after the Great Flood, it was clear his report was being ignored.' Read the full Galloway report
, written by 30 of the nation's top authorities on floodplain management, to see how close we came to common sense and how far we've strayed.
Developers and politicians still yearn to develop floodplain land into taxable commercial property. Look no further than the Maryland Heights Comprehensive Plan, which envisions almost every kind of development except single family homes -- although apartments and nursing homes are welcome -- in the floodplain between the Missouri River and Creve Coeur Park.
We need a different vision for how floodplains can be used productively to benefit the surrounding natural and human communities. Rather than chasing tax dollars on new commercial properties, cities should be protecting taxpayer dollars from future bailouts of properties that are doomed to flood again and again.
Rather than wait for developers to submit their own self-serving ideas, the Maryland Heights City Council members and the Planning Commission should be leading the charge on how to sustainably develop this unique land resource.
The final hurdle (pun intended) for the GoApe Adventure Course in Creve Coeur Park is a hearing at the Maryland Heights Planning Commission on Tuesday, April 9, at 7 p.m. at the Government Center.
The full proposal with details on the course location, design and operation can be found by clicking here
. Anything passed by the Planning Commission must be voted on by the City Council, so if you have opinions on the matter, please contact your council representatives directly.
Not sure who they are? In the left navigation panel on this page, select "Maryland Heights Officials" and you're on your way.
Citing the zipline adventure course proposed for Creve Coeur Park as a benefit for area residents, the St. Louis County Council passed the proposal in a vote of five to one in tonight’s meeting. Councilman Quinn, whose district includes Greensfelder Park where the course was initially proposed, was the only dissenter, saying he was uncomfortable with using public lands for profit.
More than 15 county residents spoke about how the proposal would undermine the value of the park, focusing on loss of wildlife habitat and quiet green space. The lack of public hearings and input on the project was another deep concern.
One speaker spoke in favor of the course, in addition to Acting Parks Director Tom Ott, who said the project will benefit many people in the county and provide 12 jobs. Proceeds from the operation will go into the parks budget. The course is expected to open this summer.
Speak Up NOW for Creve Coeur Park's Future! Tuesday, February 19 at 6 p.m.
St. Louis County Council Chambers
41 S. Central Ave., Clayton, MO 63105
To Go Ape or Not Go Ape: This Is the Question
St. Louis County Council Wants to Squelch
We think the public has an important role to play in determining the nature and scope of changes made to St. Louis County's most popular park: Creve Coeur Park. With over 1 million visitors a year it is the people's park, bought and maintained by the taxpayers and voters of St. Louis County.
In a proposal produced last fall, St. Louis County sought to enter into a contract with Go Ape, a developer of adventure activities, to install a tree-top adventure course in Greensfelder Park. They held two community forums to inform the public, only to find out the public did NOT want the course located there. After significant public debate, that proposal was withdrawn.
This winter, the St. Louis County Council moved the proposed course to Upper Creve Couer Park without any attempt to involve the public in a discussion of the merits of the project in the new location. There has been NO attempt to bring park users & taxpayers into the conversation with community meetings and detailed information on the scope of the proposed development by Go Ape.
There are other troubling aspects to the process of approving this major change to Creve Coeur Park:
We believe there is a serious lack of public input and a breech of trust with St. Louis County residents in this attempt to force through a speedy vote on the Go Ape contract. We need clarification on several issues:
- The St. Louis County Council has quietly put the project on a fast track to a contract approval. It has already passed a preliminary plan approval in Bill No. 26, 2013 at last Tuesday's county council meeting.
- This Tuesday, Feb. 19, they fully intend to commit to the contract with Go Ape.
With so many open questions, we believe it is important to slow the process down and conduct full public hearings on the Go Ape contract proposal.Here's what you can do:
- Why is the council circumventing the normal public-engagement process?
- What's the hurry? Why is it being fast tracked in two consecutive meetings over 8 days?
- St. Louis County Parks have a detailed master plan for the parks and this type of use is not mentioned. Why are they circumventing the parks' well-considered master plan?
- Why are they allowing Go Ape to stipulate the required environmental assessment comes after contract approval? There will be significant changes made to the tree canopy and disruption to the internationally designated important birding area.
- Is the modest income projected from this adventure course worth disturbing the people's park for private profit?
- As it currently stands, any monies paid to St. Louis County will go into the general fund, NOT St. Louis County Parks. How does that help the parks?
- Attend the St. Louis County Council meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 19, at 6 p.m. and voice your opinions.
- Contact your St. Louis County Council member and let them know you want public input on this proposed contract.
- Contact the bill's sponsor, County Council District 2 Council Member Kathleen Burkett, and let her know what questions you have and what you think of the project.
Contact Us | Phone: 314-283-2328 E-Mail: email@example.com
I know, I know.... You've been wanting to clean out the office and the basement and the garage, but you don't want to throw all that stuff in the trash. What to do? Check out our events page for some nearby electronics recycling events, clothing drives and document shredding events. Protect your private information, while cleaning out your house. Don't wait any longer, the time is now!!! Once you finish clearing the junk from your house, clear the cobwebs from your head. Pick up a Passport to Meramec Trails from the Open Space Council and challenge family and friends to a hike outdoors. Looking for an outdoor activity, but not up to a hike? Join St. Louis Audubon and the Academy of Science for the Creve Coeur Park BioBlitz on May 26th!
Hundreds of people have signed up for our email alerts over the last four years to keep up with the latest development proposals near Creve Coeur Park. We're switching to a new email service, so to keep the information coming, please sign up for email alerts AGAIN with the link at right.
We expect developers of Maryland Pointe to return with a conceptual plan for their big-box development in the next few months. Stay on top of the news by re-subscribing!
Come join us for a night of fun at our annual Trivia Night fundraiser. Grab your friends and neighbors and test your knowledge while supporting our efforts to save the floodplain by Creve Coeur Park from massive commercial development.
MHRRG has been partnering with the Open Space Council to help educate the community on the plans that Maryland Heights, St. Louis County and certain landowners have come up with to pave over farmland and wetlands adjacent to Creve Coeur Park. We will have more information available during the trivia night and have people on hand to answer questions before the event begins.
This event is MHRRG's main fundraiser for the year, please help us make it successful! There will be a Raffle and Silent Auction conducted throughout the evening as well as extra games thrown in for fun. Put together a table of 8 people and come have some fun!
For more information and registration form, go here
When the Planning Commission let the Maryland Pointe developers go forward to the next stage, they set out a list of conditions the new plan must meet from the get-go. This organization hosted a community meeting during which residents made their own comments and additions to the city's conditions.
Both documents were reviewed at the Oct. 25 meeting, but not everyone got a copy. Click here to review a copy
of the conditions and residents' comments. Take a close look and let us know what you think.
Proving they care about their city and Creve Coeur Park, area residents packed the Planning Commission meeting tonight to standing room only. The commission voted to "approve with conditions" the Maryland Pointe plan to put big-box retail and office space in the Missouri River floodplain, next to Creve Coeur Park. That's the bad news, but there is some good news, too.
First, the vote was not unanimous. Commissioner Mark Madden voted against the resolution and received a standing ovation for it.
Second, we applaud the conditions put forth by the city. They set the bar for the developer very high in such categories as transportation, site design and stormwater management. 'If you're going to build there, you're going to make it state of the art' is the message.
The sustained voices of residents have made a big difference already in the quality of the ideas that will be proposed in the next step, the preliminary development plan. There is no time estimate of when the developer will return with the plan. But in the meantime, there is more work to be done to make sure we don't face similar disastrous proposals in the future.
Showing up and working together, we can continue to make Maryland Heights a better place to live.