Members of the St. Louis County Council have reached a budget deal that avoids the closure of 23 county parks.
The two sides announced the compromise at a County Council meeting Tuesday night. The new 2012 budget keeps open all 50 of the county parks, and reduces the number of job cuts from 173 to about 40. It also maintains plowing in unincorporated areas that receive less than two inches of snow.
After 18 months of work behind the scenes, a three-week delay, and two hours of debate that covered topics from roller skating to Robert Frost, the St. Louis Board of Aldermen has sent a $64 million bond issue for the city's parks to Mayor Francis Slay.
Governor Jay Nixon (D) is defending his decision to explore the possibility of the state jointly running several county parks in St. Louis County that are being targeted for closure.
The parks in question include Lone Elk Park in West County, home to wild elk, turkey, deer and buffalo. State Senator Jim Lembke (R, Lemay) is questioning whether the governor has the authority to enter into such an agreement.