St. Louis County Parks | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis County Parks

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Nov 16, 2011 - Gov. Jay Nixon jumped into a controversial fight over St. Louis County parks, noting Wednesday that his administration is working with St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley.

Dooley has been under fire for a plan to close roughly 23 parks and lay off 133 employees. Opposition to the plan is fierce, as seen with a standing-room only budget meeting last night in the St. Louis County Council chambers.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Nov. 16, 2011 - An overflowing crowd packed the St. Louis County Council's chambers, and poured into the hall, to unleash a torrent of criticism Tuesday against St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley's proposal to make steep cuts in the county's park system.

An aerial shot of wildlife officials from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Missouri Department of Conservation removing Asian carp from Creve Coeur Lake in winter 2018.
Missouri Department of Conservation

Federal and Missouri state wildlife officials have successfully used a new technique to remove the majority of Asian carp from Creve Coeur Lake in St. Louis County. 

Earlier this year, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Missouri Department of Conservation and St. Louis County Parks and Recreation deployed a method to extract the invasive species from the lake.

Asian carp has invaded many Midwestern lakes and rivers, outcompeting native fish populations and tainting water quality. Traditional netting methods have not been effective, since the fish jump over the nets. Under the "unified method" developed in China, nets and electric barriers create a grid-like system where fish are herded and then removed.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife officials navigate the Illinois River where there are jumping silver carp, a type of Asian carp.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

State and federal wildlife officials plan to pull out all the stops this month to eliminate Asian carp from Creve Coeur Lake in St. Louis County. 

The invasive species are relentless bottom feeders that have damaged water quality, disrupted the food chain and driven down native fish populations in many Midwestern waterways. 

St. Louis County works on master plan for parks

Oct 11, 2016
St. Louis County Parks and Recreation

St. Louis County residents have several opportunities this month to weigh in on the future of area parks.

The County’s Parks and Recreation Department is hosting a series of open houses to discuss a master plan to guide the development and maintenance of parks and park facilities.

Project manager Gerry Biedenstein said residents should take this opportunity to share what they think is important.

Esley Hamilton
Alex Heuer

After more than 40 years of working in the St. Louis region, Esley Hamilton is partially retiring from his post as a preservation historian.

Hamilton began his career in 1968 as an intern in East St. Louis. As years passed, he became a well-known preservation historian for Saint Louis County Parks and Recreation, working to save threatened historic property in the area.

Laumeier expansion complete after decade of planning

Jul 1, 2015

This week marks the end of construction on Laumeier Sculpture Park’s fine arts center. According to park Executive Director Marilu Knode, the entire building was designed to bridge the gap between future indoor exhibits and its already established outdoor collection.

“You know we’re an outdoor park, we don’t need a fancy building we need something that’s like a barn!” she said.

St. Louis County parks department director Gary Bess dealt with an embezzlement scandal during his tenure as St. Louis parks director.
Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

Gary Bess isn’t the type of person destined to be sequestered in a corner office. 

Bess spent nearly four decades in the St. Louis parks department – including 18 years as director. He developed a reputation as a personable manager who worked hand-in-hand with employees. (He’s also renowned within local politics for his colorful sport coats.)

Jason Rosenbaum/St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley has claimed in recent weeks that he never proposed shutting down county parks in 2011. But now, as the issue begins to heat up again, Dooley is, in his own words, "walking back" from his comments.

Dooley told St. Louis Public Radio that he “never proposed shutting down anything,” adding that “people will be saying things every election cycle about Charlie Dooley. Just because they say it doesn’t make it so.”

Chris McDaniel, St. Louis Public Radio

Every week, St. Louis Public Radio's Chris McDaniel, Jo Mannies and Jason Rosenbaum talk about the week’s politics.  

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We know you can’t get enough of Politically Speaking, which is why we have two episodes this week. The Politically Speaking crew's latest interview features St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley, a Democrat who has held the powerful local office since late 2003.

file photo

On April 2nd voters in St. Louis City and St. Louis County will go to the polls, to among other things, vote on whether to pass Proposition P – a 3/16th of one-cent sales tax increase which would benefit the Gateway Arch grounds, regional trails and greenways through Great Rivers Greenway, and city and county parks.

Host Don Marsh talked with people on both sides of the issue.  Peter Sortino is the chairman of the pro Proposition P campaign and Jennifer Bird, a Republican Committeewoman in St. Louis County, is opposed to the measure.

Breaking Down The 'Arch Tax'

Mar 28, 2013
Courtesy CityArchRiver

Next Tuesday, you’ll have a chance to decide on Proposition P: a 3/16th of a cent sales tax increase which amounts to about two cents on a $10 purchase. The measure is often referred to as “the Arch Tax,” but the nickname doesn’t tell the whole story.

“Between 1995 and 2005, the Arch had about 3.3 million visitors a year," Ryan McClure with the CityArchRiver project told me as he walked me through the Arch grounds."Right now they’re averaging about 2.3.”

Brent Jones | St. Louis Beacon | 2013

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Proposition P is perhaps getting the most attention for providing local funding for improvements on the Gateway Arch grounds, an unprecedented move aimed at sprucing up the St. Louis landmark.

But money for the Arch is a relatively small part of the sales tax increase, slated for an April 2 vote in St. Louis and St. Louis County.

Why The 'Arch Tax' Is A Bit Of A Misnomer

Mar 4, 2013
The Jefferson National Expansion Memorial could change to the Gateway Arch National Park by July 2018.

It's known as the Arch tax, but if St. Louis city and St. Louis County voters approve the measure next month, the biggest chunk of money goes to parks in the region.
The sales tax would add about 2 cents to a $10 purchase in the city and county. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that it could raise an estimated $780 million over the next 20 years.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Jan. 4, 2012 - The St. Louis County Council voted without opposition to elect Councilman Mike O'Mara, D-Florissant, as its chairman, replacing Councilman Steve Stenger, D-Affton.

Councilwoman Kathleen Burkett, D-Overland, becomes vice chairman.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Dec. 20, 2011 - The St. Louis County Council quietly passed its 2012 budget Tuesday, bringing an end to an, at times, contentious process that showcased a rift between the council and St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Dec. 16, 2011 - When St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley and members of the St. Louis County Council forged a budgetary agreement earlier this month, it ended five weeks of bickering and contentiousness.

Still, the accord didn't end the process. On Tuesday, the council initially approved several bills making up the 2012 budget. And while some aspects of the budget are different from the one that sparked the firestorm earlier this fall, some prominent cuts -- especially to the county's parks department -- remain.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Dec. 7, 2011 - St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley and members of the St. Louis County Council have declared an end to a contentious budget battle, forging a deal keeping nearly two dozen county parks open.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Dec. 1, 2011 - The St. Louis County 2012 budget proposal, which includes the closure of many parks, has become a magnet for controversy. At the most recent budget hearing, a testy exchange between County Executive Charles Dooley and Council Chair Steve Stenger focused on revenue estimates and hiring decisions, as well as a challenge from Dooley to show him some options.

So what is the county's budget situation?

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Nov. 30, 2011 - A smoldering feud between St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley and County Council Chairman Steve Stenger flared up Tuesday during a budgetary hearing.