Site Secured for River Resource Center (MO)

St. Louis, MO, 3/28/02 – The Great River Resource Center is one step closer to reality, thanks to the purchase by the Metropolitan Park and Recreation District (MPRD) of 119 acres at Riverview and Interstate 270. The purchase represents the first major land acquisition by MPRD with the revenue stream created when voters supported Proposition C in 2000.

The Great River Resource Center will become a regional educational and interpretive center dedicated to the importance of the confluence of the major rivers of the region: the Mississippi, Missouri, Meramec and Illinois Rivers.

The Trust for Public Land (TPL) acquired the 119 acres from private landowners and conveyed it to MPRD. Both MPRD and the Missouri Department of Transportation provided funds to enable the transaction to be completed.

David Fisher, executive director of MPRD, described the purchase as key to the efforts to promote the Confluence Greenway project along the Mississippi River.

“With this purchase, we have secured the possible home for a major interpretive center that highlights the cultural importance of the great rivers to our region,” Fisher said. “The Great Rivers Resource Center would honor the great history of the rivers and their effect on the St. Louis region.”

The Confluence Greenway is a major undertaking of seven nonprofit agencies and several governmental units in both Missouri and Illinois. The Greenway is a 40-mile stretch of land from downtown St. Louis to Graffton, Illinois, that includes trails, open space and a variety of proposed cultural and natural amenities, including the Great Rivers Resource Center.

“We are currently in conceptual planning for the Center,” said Ann Mack of Trailnet, who is the center’s project manager. “A prominent international firm has been retained to advise us on how the center will interact with the river and the greenscape around it, including the nearby Columbia Bottom Conservation Area. Once our conceptual design is done, we will move to the actual architectural and engineering design for the facility.”

MPRD was created in 2000 and funded when voters in St. Charles County, St. Louis County and the City of St. Louis approved a sales tax initiative for parks and open space. St. Louis 2004 led the successful effort to provide funds for clean water, parks and open space.

“Today we move forward with a major acquisition in the Confluence,” said Larry Levin, St. Louis Office Director for TPL, “We are truly grateful to MPRD for providing the vision and financial commitment to one of the most significant projects within the Confluence Greenway, and to St. Louis 2004 for its incredible effort in bringing Proposition C to reality.”

Founded in 1972, the Trust for Public Land conserves land for people to improve the quality of life in our communities and to protect our natural and historic resources for future generations. Nationally, TPL has protected over 1.3 million acres of land valued at $2.39 billion. TPL is an active partner in the Confluence Greenway. Last fall, TPL acquired for the Illinois Department of Natural Resource 2000 acres of the Chouteau island complex including Mosenthien Island. In September 2001 TPL opened an office in St. Louis, dedicated to the St. Louis metro area including eastern Missouri and southwestern Illinois.