Save Our Parks!
St. Louis County Executive, Charlie Dooley, presented a budget to the County Council on October 31st that would eliminate 175 jobs and close 23 parks. The recommended closures would deny public access to 4,466 acres of parks and 65.79 miles of trails throughout the county. This current attack on our park system is the culmination of the attitude that county parks are hindering the financial stability of the County. The County's fiscal problems are real, but the administration is using this as a pretext for reducing the size of our park system. Further, if this budget passes, there will be a second, equally large round of cuts to parks next year, and the department will be entirely removed from the General Fund.
|Map with location of park closures.|
Among the 23 parks to be closed under this proposal is Ebsworth Park in Kirkwood. The 10.5 acre park is the location of the only Frank Lloyd Wright designed residence in St. Louis County. Designed for Russell and Ruth Kraus, Wright initially drafted plans in 1950 but the house remained unfinished at the time of his death nine years later. After the passing of Ruth Kraus in 1992, Russell sought to secure the future of the home that he and his wife had planned with Wright. In 2001, Russell sold the home to a non-profit organization, The Frank Lloyd Wright House in Ebsworth Park. The organization was created with the sole purpose of saving the home and the surrounding property. Subsequently, the title of the property was transferred to the St. Louis County Department of Parks and Recreation during the same year. The non-profit manages the home and makes it available to the public while the County maintains the grounds. If the budget cuts are passed, the County will renege on their agreement with the non-profit, which may result in the reversion of Ebsworth Park to the organization. It will then become the sole responsibility of the non-profit to maintain the 10.5 acres surrounding the house.
Ebsworth Park is not the only park selected for closure in the County that contains historic elements of our collective heritage. Fort Bellefontaine Park along the Missouri River in North County is the site of the first United States military installation west of the Mississippi River. The park's namesake, Fort Bellefontaine, remained in-active until it was replaced by Jefferson Barracks in 1826. The 305 acre park also features massive stoneworks added by the Works Progress Administration in the 1930s when the City of St. Louis owned the property. Not only do some of these parks contain great historic significance, they are all a true assets to the County.
| Ebsworth Park and the Frank Lloyd Wright House|
If you are opposed to the proposed closures and budget cuts presented by County Executive Dooley, make your voice heard! Below is a list of the members of the St. Louis County City Council with the districts they represent. A public hearing regarding the proposed budget cuts will be held on Tuesday, November 15th beginning at 6:30 p.m. in the City Council Chamber at 41 South Central Avenue in Clayton. The public hearing will be proceeded by a rally to save our parks at 4:30 in front of 41 South Central Avenue.
Executive Honorable Charlie A. Dooley (D)
County Executive, 41 South Central Avenue, Clayton, MO 63105
District 1 Hazel Erby (D)
8340 Fullerton Avenue, University City 63132
Administrative Assistant Jackie Carr, 615-5386
District 2 Kathleen Burkett (D)
2023 Huntington Avenue, Overland 63114
Administrative Assistant Loranie Miller, 615-5437
District 3 Colleen Wasinger (R)
860 Durbin Court, Town & Country 63131
Administrative Assistant Michael Chapman, 615-5438
District 4 Mike O'Mara (D)
19 Lowery Estates Court, Florissant 63031
Administrative Assistant Jo Roche, 6315-0393
District 5 Pat Dolan (D)
1259 Boland Place, Richmond Heights 63117
Administrative Asistant Eric Fey, 615-5434
District 6 Steve Stenger (D)
9322 Rambler Drive, St. Louis 63123
Administrative Assistant Linda Henry, 615-0159
District 7 Greg Quinn (R)
331 Norwich Court, Ballwin 63011
Administrative Assistant Jordan Fears, 615-5443