04/02/13 – Voters Approve Investment in Regional Greenways, Parks and Gateway Arch Grounds with Passage of Proposition P

St. Louis, Mo., April 2, 2013…  Voters in the St. Louis region voiced their support for the Arch Grounds and area parks, trails and greenways today, with the passage of Proposition P, the Safe and Accessible Arch and Public Parks Initiative. With approval of the measure, voters have authorized a 3/16 of a cent sales tax increase in St. Louis City and St. Louis County to provide funds for regional parks, greenways and the CityArchRiver 2015 project. Area parks, which have long experienced financial shortfalls, will receive critical funds to make safety, accessibility and maintenance improvements to existing parks.

“We are very grateful to everyone who supported us in this initiative,” said Susan Trautman, executive director of Great Rivers Greenway. “With this vote, residents in St. Louis City and St. Louis County made a choice to improve our quality of life and to invest in a legacy for generations to come. The success of this measure will allow us to continue to make the St. Louis region an even better place to live. ”

Proposition P will generate up to $31 million annually for the next 20 years, with 40 percent of the funds received going to parks in St. Louis City and St. Louis County, and the remaining 60 percent being distributed to Great Rivers Greenway. Half of the funds being allotted to Great Rivers Greenway will be dedicated to the CityArchRiver 2015 project. The Great Rivers Greenway Board of Directors will serve as stewards for both District and CityArchRiver 2015 funds.

“The voters in St. Louis City and St. Louis County have placed their trust in us once again, and we are honored and humbled by their support,” said Trautman. “We take our responsibility to the public seriously. The staff and board have worked diligently for the past 12 years to ensure a return on their investment, with 91 percent of funds returned to the public in public lands and physical improvements. We will continue to deliver on the promises we’ve made to the region, and will always reach out to the public for their their partnership on each project as we move forward.”

The District credits the passage of Proposition P, which was endorsed by more than 40 local businesses and organizations, to the success of the existing trails to date and to the regional partnerships established in the development of their trails. Great Rivers Greenway wishes to especially thank Civic Progress and its member companies and the Regional Business Council for their support, as well as their partners at local parks departments, St. Louis County, the City of St. Louis and the CityArchRiver 2015 Foundation.

Prior to passage of Proposition P, Great Rivers Greenway estimated $142 million in project requests for the next 5 years, with only $55 million in available funding. With the additional funds, the District will be able to expand the River Ring, a planned 600-mile network of greenways and trails unlike any others in the country, at a faster pace, and to ensure preservation of the 114 miles of off-street trails already completed. The District’s trails will ultimately allow users to connect from the Katy Trail to the St. Louis riverfront by bike or foot. Additionally, Great Rivers Greenway will continue to support local programs that promote the conservation of natural resources, wildlife habitats, water quality improvement, physical activity and healthy living.

About Great Rivers Greenway:

Great Rivers Greenway is a public organization developing an interconnected system of trails and greenways to make the region a better place to live. These linear green spaces link neighborhoods and communities, increase the economic vitality of the region, preserve nature, provide transportation alternatives, and improve health. Great Rivers Greenway includes St. Louis City and St. Louis County and St. Charles County. For more information, visit www.greatriversgreenway.org.

For More Information Contact:

Pamela Powell, The Hauser Group. 314.436.9090

Danni Eickenhorst, Great Rivers Greenway. 314.932.4910 office, 314.580.8874 mobile