Greenway to Include Mississippi River Island
Madison County, IL: Today, the Trust for Public Land (TPL), as part of the Confluence Greenway Partnership, announced the public acquisition and protection of a 2000-acre island six miles north of the Gateway Arch. The land will be owned and managed by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and will become part of a 40-mile greenway extending from the Gateway Arch to the Confluence of the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers. This is the first acquisition by the recently established St. Louis office of the Trust for Public Land, a national land conservation organization with a focus on providing land for people.
The land was acquired with funds from several sources. $2.8 million was provided through the State of Illinois’ Open Land Trust Program. The Trust for Public Land provided $400,000 towards the acquisition through a capital grant from the McKnight Foundation dedicated to protecting green space along the Mississippi River. The Southwestern Illinois Resource Conservation and Development Inc. provided an additional $200,000 through funds provided from the Chemetco federal court criminal prosecution under the clean water act. The Trust for Public Land provided real estate, legal and technical expertise, negotiated the acquisition and helped structure the financing.
The Trust for Public Land is an active partner of the Confluence Greenway Project, a 40-mile, 200 square mile, riverside recreation and conservation area on both banks of the Mississippi River extending from the Gateway Arch in downtown St. Louis to Pere Marquette State Park in Grafton, IL. The Greenway will offer unprecedented access to the waterfront for walking, biking, fishing, bird watching and much more. The project will restore and protect environmentally sensitive land, plants and wildlife habitat, while providing a regional recreational resource.
“The presence of strong local coalitions making effective change in the community demonstrates St. Louis’ commitment to improving the region” noted Larry Levin, St. Louis Office Director for the Trust for Public Land. “Our partners in the Confluence Greenway Project and St. Louis 2004 have created opportunities for significant strides in providing more parks and open space throughout the region. This acquisition is only part of a greater regional effort to strengthen our economy using parks and open space.”
The Confluence Greenway project is a collaboration of local citizens and interest groups representing communities in Illinois and Missouri. Organizations leading the effort include: Gateway Parks & Trails 2004, Grace Hill Neighborhood Services, Greenway Network, New Spirit, Southwestern Illinois Resource Conservation and Development, Trailnet, and The Trust for Public Land. The major governmental agencies cooperating include: Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Missouri Department of Conservation, Missouri Department of Natural Resources, National Park Service – Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Founded in 1972, the Trust for Public Land specializes in conservation real estate, applying its expertise in negotiations, public finance, and law to protect land for public use and enjoyment. The Trust for Public Land opened an office in St. Louis this September in order to better help the region address their local conservation goals. Last year, through its national Conservation Finance program, TPL partnered with St. Louis 2004 in its successful campaign to provide more public funding for parks and open space in the metropolitan region through Proposition C in Missouri and Illinois. To learn more, visit www.tpl.org.