10/13/11 – Great Rivers Greenway Breaks Ground on Newest St. Vincent Greenway Addition

New 1.3-mile segment will bring much-needed upgrades to Porter Park and begin the City of St. Louis portion of greenway 

St. Louis, Mo., Oct. 13, 2011 … The Great Rivers Greenway District, in partnership with St. Louis City, held a groundbreaking ceremony today for a key segment of the St. Vincent Greenway. The event marked the start of construction of a new 1.3-mile trail segment that, once complete, will run through Porter Park north to Etzel Avenue and west on Etzel to Skinker Blvd. in St. Louis City. The new segment is part of the south end of the planned seven-mile-long St. Vincent Greenway, which will serve as a key pathway between Washington University and the University of Missouri – St. Louis. The brief groundbreaking ceremony took place at the south end of Porter Park at Delmar Blvd. and DaBaliviere Ave. The new segment is expected to be completed next June.

This extension of the St. Vincent Greenway is anticipated to revise the usage of public right-of-way along Etzel Avenue from Skinker Blvd. eastward to Porter Park, allowing a physical separation of the greenway route from vehicles. Construction on the newest St. Vincent Greenway extension will involve resurfacing the existing sidewalk that runs through Porter Park as a 10-foot-wide paved trail. Porter Park will also see many upgrades, including interpretive signs prepared by the Missouri History Museum, sculptures by local artists Robert Tebogo Schultz and Thomas Sleet, and benches and trash receptacles welded by four neighborhood young people. Residents who attend the groundbreaking ceremony will be able to preview the art that is already underway, as well as vote on their preferences for banners, umbrella colors, and languages for a peace pole that will be incorporated into the park.

While enjoying refreshments, attendees were able to view progress displays and plans for the remainder of St. Vincent Greenway, including the extension from Porter Park to Forest Park. Once the Loop Trolley is constructed, the greenway will continue down DeBaliviere Avenue, running alongside the Loop Trolley, south to Forest Park.  Representatives from the newly formed St. Vincent Greenway Inc., a community development corporation, will be available to talk with residents and stakeholders.

St. Vincent Greenway, once complete, will run from Forest Park to NorthPark, providing residents along the alignment with direct access to St. Vincent Park, Engelholm Creek, seven MetroLink stations, the University of Missouri-St. Louis campus and the St. Louis County communities included in Beyond Housing’s 24:1 community building initiative and the West End and Skinker-DeBaliviere neighborhoods in the City. To date, 3.8 miles of the eight planned miles of trail that will make up St. Vincent Greenway have been completed. The greenway will eventually connect to River des Peres, Centennial, and Chouteau Greenways in Forest Park, and to Maline Greenway in NorthPark.  The regional greenway plays an important role in The River Ring, the Great Rivers Greenway District’s planned 600-mile interconnected system of trails, parks and more than 45 greenways, which will link St. Charles County, St. Louis City and St. Louis County with the Metro East and cover an area of 1,216 square miles.

“We are excited to break ground on the newest extension in the St. Vincent Greenway,” said Susan Trautman, Executive Director of Great Rivers Greenway. “The greenway will provide families with a safe option for exercise, commuting and outdoor activities and will help to advance the development, beauty, safety, health, vibrancy and interconnectivity of surrounding communities.”

The greenways being developed in our region can take several years to build and are a collaborative effort between Great Rivers Greenway, neighborhood stakeholders and local municipalities. They connect people and communities, protect and preserve the environment, create access to natural places, promote good health, expand transportation options and transit connections and stimulate economic vitality in our region.

About Great Rivers Greenway:

Great Rivers Greenway is a public organization established in November 2000 with the passage of the Clean Water, Safe Parks and Community Initiative in St. Louis City, St. Louis County and St. Charles County. The organization is developing an interconnected system of trails and greenways to make the region a better place to live. For more information, visit www.grgstl.org.

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 For more information, contact:

Pamela Powell, The Hauser Group, 314.436.9090