National Park Service orders stop to construction of ice complex in Creve Coeur Park | St. Louis Public Radio

National Park Service orders stop to construction of ice complex in Creve Coeur Park

Aug 31, 2017

The National Park Service has ordered the Missouri Department of Natural Resources to stop construction work for a proposed ice recreation facility in Creve Coeur Lake Memorial Park. 

In a letter to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources last Friday, the federal agency expressed its concerns about the St. Louis Ice Center.

"We are concerned that the Ice Center would act as a stand-alone attraction and would not encourage further outdoor recreation at the rest of the site," wrote Carol Edmondson, an outdoor recreation planner at the National Park Service.

Earlier this summer, St. Louis County began grading the site, or raising the ground several feet to improve stormwater drainage. Missouri State Parks Director Ben Ellis wrote to St. Louis County and St. Louis Economic Development Partnership officials, asking them to halt construction at the site, but said that the grading work could continue.

A map showing where the proposed St. Louis Ice Center would be located at Creve Coeur Lake Memorial Park.
Credit St. Louis Economic Development Partnership

"The key here is that Land [and] Water Conservation Funds are for outdoor park use," Ellis wrote. "So anything that is not outdoor, then that is when the National Park Service looks at the request very carefully." 

One out of the four ice rinks planned for the 250,000-square foot facility would be outdoors. 

The National Park Service must approve the project before construction can begin. Creve Coeur Lake Park was established using funds from the agency's Land and Water Conservation Fund program, which restricts use of the area to recreation and conservation. At a St. Louis County Council meeting on Tuesday, St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger said that the grading work has been completed, after Councilman Sam Page introduced a bill to cease construction and grading activities at site of the proposed ice complex. 

Environmentalists and many county residents have spoken against the St. Louis Ice Center project, fearing that the project will dramatically change the park's appearance and worsen flooding in the area. 

Follow Eli on Twitter: @StoriesByEli