Forest Park

A catch-all forum for urban discussion. If it doesn't fit elsewhere, post here.
Forest Park Forever raising $130 million in capital with $30 million going to improvements is a big number IMO.

Behind pay wall so not sure what improvements they are looking at in near term and how it relates to Zoo and the museums.

https://www.bizjournals.com/stlouis/new ... pital.html

Funds from the campaign will be used to expand the Forest Park endowment by $100 million and provide $30 million for improvement projects at the park.
^ "Restoration projects funded by the campaign include the rebuilding of roads and sidewalks around the Zoo and Art Museum, improvements to Central Fields and Boeing Aviation Fields, a new bridge between the Muny and Boathouse and a new natural playscape which is currently under design, among others. A spokesman said construction on Aviation Fields would begin in fall 2018 following league play, with substantial completion during summer 2018."
Copied from Forest Park Forever:

"Millions of Dollars Raised Have Already Been Invested in Needed Park Improvements — from Athletic Fields and the River System to Roads, Bridges and Sidewalks

Forest Park Forever, the private nonprofit conservancy that partners with the City of St. Louis to care for Forest Park, announced today that it has met and exceeded its $130 million goal for Forever: The Campaign for Forest Park’s Future. The most ambitious fundraising campaign in Park history, the Forever campaign has raised more than $139 million from the community to achieve two goals:
Expand the endowment for Forest Park by $100 million so that money is available each year to keep up with the enormous maintenance needs of this 1,300-acre space
Raise at least $30 million to fund urgently needed Forest Park improvement projects in partnership with the City of St. Louis
Utilizing the investment income of an expanded endowment, Forest Park Forever has already been able to tackle a backlog of maintenance projects that greatly improve the visitor experience, preserve the gains made in recent decades and keep the Park from slipping into the decline of last century. Examples include:
Fixing and maintaining the Emerson Grand Basin fountains and Kerth Fountain
Restoring the popular but deteriorating handball courts behind the Visitor Center
Maintaining the much-used 19 miles of Forest Park paths
Fixing drainage issues at the base of Art Hill and in front of the Boathouse
Replacing the old, leaky roof of the Dennis & Judith Jones Visitor and Education Center
Repaving key Park roads and parking lots, in partnership with the City’s Streets Department
The major restoration projects funded through this campaign touch many areas of the visitor experience and include:
New Park-wide wayfinding system for visitors on foot, on bikes and in cars (completed 2014)
More sustainable, event-ready Festival & Parking Plaza at the Upper Muny (completed 2015)
Rebuilt roads and new sidewalks around the Zoo and Art Museum (completed 2017)
Safe new bridge and path connection between the Muny and Boathouse (completed 2018)
Meadow and enhanced waterway between the Muny and Boathouse (completion in 2018)
Improved Central Fields, with new drainage system and restrooms (completion in 2019)
Improved Boeing Aviation Fields, with additional irrigated, LED-lit fields (in design)
New natural playscape where regional youth can learn in and engage with nature (in design)
Connecting the river system on the Park’s eastern half, improving water quality (in design)
And several others throughout Forest Park
The Forever campaign’s origins trace back more than a decade, when the City of St. Louis and Forest Park Forever began discussing how Forest Park could best be maintained and operated in the future, as well as how to preserve the dramatic gains made during the initial $100 million restoration in the late 1990s and early 2000s. After a study identified a gap in annual funding needs for Park maintenance and with a new phase of urgent restoration projects needing funding, the Forever campaign was crafted to address both needs: greatly expanding the endowment for annual Park care and raising funds for specific capital projects. As part of its formal agreement with the City, Forest Park Forever committed to raising $130 million in contributions from the community by 2018. With today’s announcement, Forest Park Forever celebrates that it successfully met its commitment to the City within the established timeline."

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1) I'm surprised we don't have an umbrella Forest Park thread. I searched and found some old threads but nothing really worth digging up so I'll just post here.
2) Has anyone else noticed that they're going through with the very boring Forest Park Entry Gate Signs? The only one I've seen so far is at Skinker & Clayton/Oakland. Has anyone seen any others?

EDIT: Thanks to whoever moved my post! Not sure if this thread was just created or if I missed this one :D
Yeah, I wish they had gone ahead with the Halprin design, but I'm OK with what they're doing.

https://nextstl.com/2015/08/forest-park ... was-great/

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And the headline of the Post in a parallel dimension—

"Third teen dies falling off Forest Park entrance in latest Facebook challenge."


Oy, that has insurance liability written all over it.
aprice wrote:
Thu Mar 15, 2018 10:27 am

EDIT: Thanks to whoever moved my post! Not sure if this thread was just created or if I missed this one :D
Second on the thanks. My gut feeling is aprice put a lot more effort than I on trying to find the appropriate thread. My search was rather limited so ran with zoo-museum to pass off my feeble efforts
shadrach wrote:
Thu Mar 15, 2018 12:49 pm
And the headline of the Post in a parallel dimension—
"Third teen dies falling off Forest Park entrance in latest Facebook challenge."
Oy, that has insurance liability written all over it.
Except following that logic, the Zoo sculpture, half of the sculptures outside the Art Museum, and every tree in Forest Park would be an insurance liability. So, I'm going to have to call b.s. on this one.
aprice wrote:
Thu Mar 15, 2018 2:26 pm
shadrach wrote:
Thu Mar 15, 2018 12:49 pm
And the headline of the Post in a parallel dimension—
"Third teen dies falling off Forest Park entrance in latest Facebook challenge."
Oy, that has insurance liability written all over it.
Except following that logic, the Zoo sculpture, half of the sculptures outside the Art Museum, and every tree in Forest Park would be an insurance liability. So, I'm going to have to call b.s. on this one.
What, you mean people aren't crawling all over the jagged rusty steel sculpture near the Hampton roundabout?

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Speaking of, how great would that have been as an actual (park or even Zoo) entrance instead of just leading to the backside of the Banteng pen...

-RBB
rbb wrote:
Thu Mar 15, 2018 3:09 pm
What, you mean people aren't crawling all over the jagged rusty steel sculpture near the Hampton roundabout?
I know what I'm doing tonight!!
rbb wrote:
Thu Mar 15, 2018 3:09 pm
Speaking of, how great would that have been as an actual (park or even Zoo) entrance instead of just leading to the backside of the Banteng pen...
-RBB
I've thought about it often. I'd like to see that as an actual entrance too. Don't even move the sculpture.
I wonder if it was meant as an entrance sculpture, the central opening is perfect for it.
EWG/FPF funded a study that looked at the parks mobility (few other things too) and one of the recommendations in the final draft was a bus system that would go to all the major attractions in the park and then go down forest park ave to Taylor and to the CWE metrolink stop. so that someone can take the train and hope of that bus to get to the park. WUSM was very much against this because don’t want any more traffic on Taylor because their plan for it is to be more of a pedestrian street. Right now there is 800 bus/shuttle movements on Taylor on any given week day. The draft also called for a bus lane and signal prioritiy for buses on Taylor. We’ll see what the final plan says.
^Could it just go to Taylor instead, and use the bus depot entrance to Metrolink?
:lol: Still no basketball courts? I thought Joe Vacarro was filing a bill for at least one court.
rbeedee wrote:
Thu Mar 15, 2018 7:45 pm
^Could it just go to Taylor instead, and use the bus depot entrance to Metrolink?
I meant to write Taylor, no clue why i wrote Euclid. Ive fixed it since...sorry :D
Rumor/urban legend I’ve heard is that the ‘jagged, rusted sculpture’ was indeed intended as the entrance to a zoo. Somewhere In Germany, I believe. But the locals (NIMBYS oder ‘Nichts aus Meines Nachbarn’) hated it and thus our zoo purhachased it at a heavily discounted price. Hmmm, now where do we put it? Yeah, right behind the bentangs...

Anyway. Trees, sculptures, whatever, none of them scream ‘climb on me’ like the Halpirn pieces. And I’d you can’t see that, then, well, I can’t convince you otherwise. So, BS aside, determine the acceptable amount of casualties and get on with it. As someone accurately posted...St. Louis is full of idiots.
I seem to recall there had been talk of putting it or a matching one at the old NE entrance, which is long closed now anyway. (Sadly.) But yes, that REALLY needs to be at an entrance. There needs to be a way. The arch positively screams entrance. (I might have gotten burned by it once, thinking it was an entrance. That and alternately failing to recall the NE entrance was closed for parking revenue purposes. I'm sorry. I mean security. It was security.)
Long-term, the plan is to completely re-do the Red Rocks area, so they could find a way to actually incorporate that as an entrance.

The only image that shows any kind of detailed proposed layout doesn't seem to indicate it would be remade into an entrance, though one must take into consideration that it's still a very preliminary layout for a project decades away from being done, so much can change in that time period. It does at least clear out exhibit space adjacent to the sculpture, so I suppose it leaves the possibility open.

All-in-all, I'd say that it has a slim-to-zero chance of happening, since the Zoo would almost definitely want to funnel as many guests as possible through the North Entrance and new South Entrance across I-64 in order to part the guests from their money (you can already see this since the renovation of the North Entrance now forces guests to exit through a gift shop). It's unfortunate, because it really does scream entrance.
I certainly sympathize with the idea that exhibits need funding. I'm quite in favor of putting large and conspicuous signs up that point people to the paid parking or the gift shops. But it would be nice if the rest of us weren't mislead by ancient memories and suggestive sculptures. Research would fix all, but . . . who wants to do that? Besides, a sculpture like that requires at least a little pedestrian interaction. And without an entrance, I'd have to guess that's mostly drive by country. (Save for people that make tactical errors. There really was absolutely no one else nearby on foot. On a lovely summer afternoon, as I recall.)

. . . But I fully agree with you that it's darned unlikely to happen. It's really just a glorious, if rather ambiguous signpost.
And just a little note to lay to rest the "urban rumors" about the sculpture: I asked my mom about it (she was one of the curators at the Zoo when the sculpture was put in, so I thought she might know how it came to be), and she seemed to remember that it was originally slated for some park in New York (not sure if state or city) but those plans fell through and it came to us instead.

ADDENDUM: After speaking with the person who's basically in charge of "artsy" stuff at the Zoo and has been for quite some time, I was informed that the sculpture was originally commissioned for the STL Zoo and was never intended for anywhere else. Still not 100% sure but in any case, I doubt it was ever intended for somewhere other than where it is now.
When the sculpture was originally installed it seemed even more remote and awkward than it is now. The reworking of the Hampton Ave entrance with roundabout make it much more integrated and accessible. I also believe it was intended for another city but had been languishing in the sculptors studio until a wealthy local art patron on a tour saw it and arranged for it to be brought to St. Louis.
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Off topic, but here’s a crazy idea: re-zone the mansions along Lindell Blvd across from Forest Park and build high-rises all along there to get that Central Park aesthetic.


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(also off topic) If we ever get to the point where there is no more land left to build on as in NYC, you could be justified in suggesting that. With the multitudes of vacant lots in the City of Saint Louis, though, historic neighborhoods/buildings ought to remain completely off limits.
The meme above fails to mention that fifth avenue is still, in fact, lined with mansions for the super wealthy. They're just stacked one above the other now.

If you're slightly generous and allow for the fact that the mid to high rise wall hangs a right at forest park and then jogs up DeBaliviere to Delmar it's already going that way, albeit by fits and starts. There's a couple of blocks missing between Kingshighway and Union . . . and probably always will be. But I bet you wouldn't notice that two block stretch for some reason. And it's not all that tall yet. Four or so stories in many places. And there are still holes on Delmar, of course . . .

I wouldn't favor willy nilly destruction. Some of those are architectural treasures nearly as worthy of preservation as the Chemical Building downtown, albeit on a smaller scale. And not just the old ones. But honestly, there's really only a few that I would regard as untouchable masterpieces. Maybe a dozen. And most of them are in that small, concentrated strip between Union and Kingshighway, where even the lot sizes are more reasonable. What few are west of Union could be preserved as park space while the rest of those underutilized super-deep lots could be quite profitably built over with high rise. Ideally split into a couple of blocks, as deep as those lots are. Save some for the park to make up for lost land, but . . . I think I'm down with this. There's a big portion of that that just seems . . . remarkably blah for such a prime corner. Rich people blah, but blah just the same. Let the rich people stay if you must. But make them build something better. And taller. Stack the rich people. Do eet! Leaves more space for the rest of us. And it looks cool. And it's more efficient. And it allows more people to live in high tax areas paying high taxes to our fair city. (Just don't abate for it. Zone to allow it. But cut the kickbacks down to scale.)

Because, let's be honest here, the vacant land where people could build right now? It's not across from the park. I'm all for developing parking lots and grass fields. But maybe more density there would drive development elsewhere. Also note: once Wash U is done with their east end and the 100 goes up there will be precisely two undeveloped parcels facing the park, if I count correctly. Two parking lots. Not even exceptionally big ones. That's . . . getting to be pretty solid around there. That's real demand. I'm all for historic preservation. But lets not get too carried away and save every unremarkable Tudor knockoff. When those enormous greenswards could be supporting a dozen or maybe even a hundred units each, with all the commensurate property taxes, where now there's one.

Anyway . . .
The three immediately west of Union are lame.
There's an empty lot at San Bonita and Skinker.
Wish WashU would build something at the SE corner of FPP and Skinker.
^It was a quick scan on google maps and not a careful lot by lot analysis. Looks like I missed a few. Didn't notice either the corner of Forest Park and Skinker or the lot at Bonita. Seems Northwood and Skinker is also a surface lot, next to the Dorchester. No real need for that, in the long run. And of course there's a lot of weird wasted land around the highway exits. Sooner or later, some of that is valuable enough it could be sold and put back on the tax rolls. (Skinker and Oakland NE, say. I wouldn't count that against build around Forest Park, since it's probably technically a part of Forest Park, but that's probably a corner that could be built up, widowed from the park as it is. At the very least it's not very productive, and I don't see how it ever becomes a useful part of the park again.) I guess Hampton and Oakland SW might still be vacant. I rather thought that had something under construction. Might be that Google is out of date there. And the Imo's, Hardee's, and car lot don't really count for much. Or the Amaco, for that matter. Though I confess, I do like the sign. So there is definitely some underutilzed land around the park. But it's clearly also a demand generator. And I fully agree with you about three goofy little faux colonials. (Only in that neighborhood would those be called little. But they'd always be ugly.)