PicturePhoto 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 third and final public meeting about how to improve Dorsett Road has come and gone, but your chance to weigh in on recommendations so far is open until Friday, June 22.

The scenarios range from more attractive lighting, to changing zoning codes to encourage different development, to safer pedestrian crossings to establishing a bike and walking trail on the south side of Dorsett throughout the city.  

You can complete the same survey that meeting participants did by clicking here.  The ideas presented in the survey have been cultivated and refined through the two previous public meetings and the online survey tool.  Make sure to review the photos that go along with each question to help you answer and don't hesitate to contact  the outreach coordinator with any questions:  Beth Quindry, outreach coordinator, beth@shockeyconsulting.com and 314.497.3126.   
If you don't have internet access, paper copies of the survey are available at the Maryland Heights Government Center, 11911 Dorsett Road. 

Time is running out!
 Wednesday night (6/12) is the last community meeting for the Dorsett Road Great Streets project. Attendance has grown at each meeting showing city officials that residents DO care about plans for our city.
If you haven't been to a meeting yet, come tomorrow and see what's going on. If you've already been, come and find out what the next steps are in this exciting project.

 The Dorsett Great Streets website has been very active!
 If you were not able to attend the previous community meetings, go to the website and take the survey on-line.  You can also post ideas that you have for improving Dorsett Road and vote or comment on ideas that other residents have posted. Make your voice heard!  

Next Dorsett Road Great Streets Community meeting is scheduled for Wednesday June 12th:

Maryland Heights Community Center
6:30 to 8:30 pm
2344 McKelvey Road
Maryland Heights, MO

Pass this news on to neighbors and friends!

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.

After speaking with the STL County Parks Department, we found out that the revenue from the Go-Ape tree-line adventure course WILL NOT go to the County General Fund. The money will stay in the Park Department budget. That information was from a newspaper article and we apologize for not double-checking before we posted it.

Also, please understand that MHRRG is not taking a position for or against the Go-Ape course. We are advocating for Public Hearings and the same chance for public debate that the users of Greensfelder Park had.

If you are looking for more information, here is the Go-Ape informational page that is posted on the STLCounty Parks' website.
It lists what the company will be paying to build in Creve Coeur Park and has a 'new course' informational brochure you can download. There are also links that contain letters from another Park and a "Park Friends" group that already have this  zip-line course set up in other states.

One piece of information that hasn't been in the news so far: In order for the Go-Ape course to be placed in the area by the old Trolley Station, the Parks Department will be moving the large Corporate Picnic shelter out of that portion of the park.
Currently, events in that shelter hold up to 500 people who mostly drive to the park in separate vehicles. The Go-Ape program is by reservation only: weekends it allows only 14 people per 1/2 hour and weekdays 14 people per hour on the course. 50% of their reservations are families who usually ride together in one vehicle.

Please direct questions about the ropes course to the St. Louis County Parks Department 314-615-5454. Direct questions about environmental/wildlife concerns with the course to the St. Louis Audubon Society 314-599-7390.
If you can only call one, make it Kathleen Burkett, as it is in her district and the other Council members defer to the one in which the project is located.

Email addresses 
You can get them all at once in one email.
If you email, they would like you to include your full name.

cdooley@stlouisco.com   County Executive Charlie Dooley
herby@stlouisco.com  Hazel Erby (District 1)
kburkett@stlouisco.com   Kathleen Kelly Burkett (District 2)
cwasinger@stlouisco.com  Colleen Wasinger (District 3)
momara@stlouisco.com   Mike O’Mara (District 4)
pdolan@stlouisco.com    Pat Dolan (District 5)
sstenger@stlouisco.com   Steve Stenger (District 6)
GQuinn@stlouisco.com    Greg Quinn (District 7)

Phone numbers
If you call, remember that Council persons are part time. and they have full  time office assistants.

Hazel Erby
Phone: (314) 615-5436 and Fax: (314) 615-7890
Phone: (314) 615-5386 for Executive Assistant: Jacqueline Carr

>>>>Bill's Sponsor: Kathleen Burkett
Phone: (314) 615-5437 and Fax: (314) 615-7890
Phone: (314) 615-5451 for Executive Assistant: Loraine Miller

Colleen Wasinger
Phone: (314) 615-5438 and Fax: (314) 615-7890
Phone: (314) 615-5438 for Executive Assistant: Mike Chapman

Mike O'Mara
Phone: (314) 615-5439 and Fax: (314) 615-7890
Phone: (314) 615-0393 for Executive Assistant: Jo Roche

Pat Dolan
Phone: (314) 615-5441 and Fax: (314) 615-7890
Phone: (314) 615-5434 for Executive Assistant: Eric Fey

Steve Stenger
Phone: (314) 615-5442 and Fax: (314) 615-7890
Phone: (314) 615-0159 for Executive Assistant: Linda Henry

Greg Quinn
Phone: (314) 615-5443 and Fax: (314) 615-7890
Phone: (314) 615-5443 for Executive Assistant: Jordan Fears
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:
  • 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.
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:
  • 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?

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:
  • 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: marylandheightsresidents@gmail.com

Our trivia night sponsors gave generously this year to our annual trivia night fundraiser. We'd like to show our appreciation by publicly thanking them here. You rock!
  • Adeline’s Kitchen
  • Balducci’s
  • Caitlin Varady
  • Creve Coeur Lake Rentals
  • Deborah Moulton
  • Dramatic License Productions
  • Extra Thyme Catering
  • Geoff & Melissa Heberle 
  • John Teipen
  • Karen Meyer
  • Kathleen Logan-Smith
  • Haveli Indian Restaurant
  • Jeanne & Gerry Sander
  • Maryland Heights Parks & Recreation
  • Melissa Moulton
  • Mitch Leachman
  • Missouri Botanical Garden
  • Missouri Coalition for the Environment
  • The Open Space Council
  • Papaya Grill
  • PNC Bank
  • The Quarry at Crystal Springs
  • Saint Louis Volunteer Meet-Up Group
  • Sally Eaton
  • St. Louis Audubon Society
  • St. Louis Rowing Club
  • Susie Meyer
  • Town & Country Whole Foods


The Maryland Heights Planning Commission has wisely denied the request by Baldridge Properties to allow a new development on the Dorsett Rd. Pasta House property that would not meet our city's zoning standards.  Kudos to the Commission!

For more background, see the post below.  And stay tuned for more news about this high-profile property and how it might help -- or hinder --  our city's image.  The applicants may appeal.