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 After significant public debate, that proposal was withdrawn.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 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