parks

Katelyn Petrin / St. Louis Public Radio

As the weather gets warmer this month, St. Louis gains two more places to enjoy springtime outdoors. St. Charles County is cutting the ribbon of a new park on Monday, while St. Louis County debuted a new park last week.

Old North
Emanuele Berry | St. Louis Public Radio

Torn up nets, fading court lines, unkempt baseball fields, smashed slides, broken pavement, crumbling swing sets and a clogged sprinkler filled with trash and dead animals … these are just some of the problems facing a pair of parks in the Old North neighborhood of St. Louis. Problems area children are campaigning to fix. 

The Youth Council of Old North held a meeting Tuesday evening to campaign for the city to fix Strodtman and Jackson parks. The council, which is made up of young men from the neighborhood, was established this fall.

Linda Lockhart | St. Louis Public Radio

The Johnson’s Shut-ins State Park, Missouri’s original, natural water park, is ready for action. That’s what Steph Deidrick, a division information officer for the Missouri State Parks, wants people to know.

It’s been four years since Johnson’s Shut-ins reopened the park and campgrounds after the area was hit by a devastating flood, caused when AmerernUE’s Taum Sauk reservoir gave way.  The reservoir breach occurred on Dec. 14, 2005, sending approximately 1.3 billion gallons of water down the Proffit Mountain, flooding the park below.

(via Flickr/Indofunk Satish)

Isaac dumps rain, but Mo. drought persists

The National Weather Service says large parts of rural Missouri and Illinois had between three-to-five inches of rainfall this weekend.

In St. Louis, Oakville received three and a half inches of rain, the most in the metropolitan area.  But National Weather Service Meteorologist Jayson Gosselin said it will take much more rain to snap this summer's historic drought.

Wallula Junction / Flickr

Since late last year, almost a quarter of Illinois state park superintendents have retired, taking with them in many cases 30 or more years of experience that will be hard to replace.
 
The loss of that institutional knowledge is one more cost of the state's deep financial crisis. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources is among state agencies hit hard by years of budget cuts.
 

(via Flickr/Trailnet)

The St. Louis County Parks Department presented its business plan to the County Council last night, and for now, no park closures are being discussed. 

Officials with the parks department said they’re doing their best to cut unnecessary expenses and uncover new revenue streams, but currently the department has a $500,000 budget shortfall for 2013.

The budget outlook could get much worse in 2014, and Parks Department Director Tom Ott said they would need to make drastic cuts without adequate funding.

Mo. Dept. of Natural Resources

People who go camping at state parks in Missouri can now add laptops and iPads to their lists of camping gear and supplies.

Prior to this year, only Bennett Spring State Park had WiFi service, which was used mainly for live trout cameras during trout season.  Renee Bungart with the state Department of Natural Resources (DNR) says WiFi service has now been expanded to eleven state park campgrounds.

(via Flickr/IndofunkSatish)

Ill. DNR director cannot rule out park closures

Amanda Vinicky contributed reporting from Springfield.

The director of the Illinois Dept. of Natural Resources says his department will do all it can to keep the state's parks open after the failure of a $2 increase in license plate fees that would have provided a funding stream the the DNR.

But Marc Miller says he can't rule anything out, because the department has seen its budget slashed by 50 percent over the last decade.

(via Flickr/IndofunkSatish)

County parks audit finds spending on vehicles during budget crisis

An internal audit of the St. Louis County Parks Department has found the department spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on new vehicles, even as county executive Charlie Dooley was threatening to close parks and lay off employees.

(via Flickr/rjones0856)

State Auditor Tom Schweich has given the agency that oversees Missouri's state parks low marks for its documentation and oversight procedures.

The Division of State Parks, within the Department of Natural Resources, oversees the state's 85 parks and historical sites. The sites bring in about $9 million annually, with about $1.7 million coming from 16 companies that provide food, lodging and other concessions at some of the parks. The division also administers the state parks sales tax, which totals about $38 million a year.

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