Expanding Horizons for Forest Park Master Plan to Go Public

By Charlene Prost Of the Post-Dispatch | St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), November 17, 1995 | Go to article overview

Expanding Horizons for Forest Park Master Plan to Go Public


Charlene Prost Of the Post-Dispatch, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)


The final Forest Park Master Plan, being made public today, gives the go-ahead to the Art Museum and other major institutions in the park to expand or make improvements.

The Forest Park Master Plan has a $100 million price tag. The institutions together have nearly $200 million worth of projects on the drawing boards, all to be privately financed.

The public will have a last chance to review and debate the Forest Park plan at a meeting from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at the Art Museum. The committee that devised the park plan may then tinker with it, then send it to the Community Development Agency Commission. Final approval could come as early as Dec. 5.

John Hoal, the city's urban design director who oversees the plan, said Thursday that the park committee "struggled long and hard" before endorsing the Art Museum's $100 million plan to expand on four acres next to the Museum. Some, wanting to protect the park's green space, have opposed any more institutional expansions in the park.

Hoal said the master plan technically endorses only the Museum's expansion in the park. But because Museum officials have tied that expansion to a plan to buy the vacant Arena property south of the park, the endorsement covers both, he said.

Under the Arena proposal, a nonprofit organization headed by the Museum would buy the city-owned, 26-acre site for $10 million, give the land to Forest Park, and give the city $200,000 a year for five years to be spent on the park.

That proposal is one of four the city is considering for the Arena property. Two others made public so far call for renovating The Arena into an aquarium with condominiums and other development around it or meshing an office building development with what the Art Museum proposes.

The master plan, in the works for nearly two years, also endorses expansion or improvement plans by the History Museum, The Muny, the St. Louis Zoo and the St. Louis Science Center.

Of the four, only the Science Center proposes to expand beyond its leased area. It wants to build a bigger, safer parking lot on a nearby archery field. Hoal said the master plan endorses expanding the center's underground gallery and rearranging the existing parking, but not eliminating the archery field for parking. Fixing Forest Park

The bulk of what is in the master plan, however, deals with a much broader problem - how to improve the crumbling, 1,293-acre park, the city's largest, and one of its oldest. And in keeping with concerns that arose during more than 25 other public meetings about the park so far, Hoal said, the finished plan also emphasizes maintaining the park's green space, and its historic character. …

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