The St. Charles County Council last night unanimously approved the name Veterans Tribute Park for the new park currently under construction between Pitman Hill and Kisker roads. The name was recommended to the Council by a committee created to find an appropriate way to honor service men and women from St. Charles County who have been killed in action.
The committee was formed after several residents spoke to the Council last year, suggesting that the park be named to honor all or certain members of the military. The County Council, as well as County Executive Steve Ehlmann agreed that they would like to see these heroes honored in an appropriate manner.
“I want to thank all those from St. Charles County who served, or are serving our country,” says County Executive Steve Ehlmann. “Your sacrifices do not go unnoticed or unappreciated, and we are honored to name this park for you, and for our fallen heroes.”
The County is finalizing plans for a Memorial Garden at the site. Flags to honor the five branches of the armed forces, along with plants and trees, will create a flowing pathway that will end at a plaza where an American flag will fly. Preliminary plans are to move and rededicate the World War I monument presently located in front of the St. Charles County Historic Courthouse on Second Street in St. Charles, and incorporate it into the garden. Similar stone monuments will be created to recognize conflicts since World War I in which military from St Charles County have given their lives. They will all border the pathway to the garden.
Veterans Tribute Park is 120 acres surrounded by residential development and joins the St. Charles County Heritage Museum at Heritage Park in St. Peters, College Meadows near Cottleville, and the Youth Activity Park near Dardenne Prairie, as County parks in suburban settings. The land is being developed into a new park with amenities for residents of all abilities and expected to open later this year.
“In 2014, we surveyed residents on what they would like to see in the park,” says Ryan Graham, Director of the St. Charles County Parks Department. “We held a public meeting to unveil conceptual plans and gather further feedback. This is going to be an amazing attraction for the community.”
Highlights of the park include:
• A walking and biking trail system -- a 1.6 mile trail on the perimeter of the park with smaller trails inside the property.
• A destination playground for children of all abilities that encompasses social/emotional, physical, sensory, cognitive, and communication development. The playground is divided into zones: interactive water play featuring play initiated by motion; music play; adventure play with climbing features; inclusive swings and a hillside slide.
• Two lakes stocked with fish.
• An off-leash dog park divided into small and large dog areas.
• Three open-play fields encompassing 6 acres.
• A 100-person signature picnic shelter overlooking one of the lakes and surrounded by a garden and another 50-person picnic shelter.
The existing silo on the property is being preserved and integrated into the playground design. A boardwalk from the silo will span out into the park, allowing visitors to have a full scenic view from the top of a hill to the playground below.
Initially, 90 acres of the park are being developed, with the remaining 30 acres reserved for future development. Estimated construction cost of the park is $7 million, which is covered by the County’s Parks Fund. Money from the fund is through a local use tax approved by voters in 1997, and is dedicated to park acquisition, development and operations.
For park events, updates and general information about St. Charles County Parks, visit stccparks.org.