Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Sprucing Up City Parks to Be Costly Official Gives Aldermen $90 Million `Wish List'

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Sprucing Up City Parks to Be Costly Official Gives Aldermen $90 Million `Wish List'

Article excerpt

St. Louis parks need more than $90 million in work, the city's top parks official said Tuesday.

Gary Bess, director of Parks, Recreation and Forestry, gave aldermen a list of projects that he would like to see paid for with money from a recently adopted sales-tax increase.

"This is a wish-list figure," Bess said.

Bess said the funding for the work could come from a half-cent increase in the city sales tax that voters approved in August.

The work outlined for the 102 parks in the city deals mostly with repairing walkways, renovating playgrounds, planting trees and other basic projects. Bess said he did not emphasize new items when drawing up the list.

"You don't talk about building an addition to your house when the toilets don't work," Bess said.

The tax increase is expected to bring in about $15.3 million a year. Of that amount, $2.6 million is to be divided among the city's six largest parks: Forest Park, $1.6 million; Tower Grove, $338,000; Carondelet, $220,000; Fairground, $162,000; O'Fallon, $156,000; Willmore, $130,000. …

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