Gateway Design Studio

Gateway Design Studio, LLC Celebrates 200th Anniversary of the Old McKendree Chapel in Jackson, Missouri


The Old McKendree Chapel 200th Anniversary celebration took place on Sunday, September 22nd with a traditional worship service, along with dedications and remarks from community and church leaders. Photos and a brief article about the 200th Anniversary event are available through the Southeast Missourian newspaper and online at 

The Chapel and property have a significant historical story as the oldest standing chapel west of the Mississippi. Built in 1819, the chapel is listed on the National Register of Historic Places

Gateway Design Studio completed the master plan for the property renovation of the Old McKendree Chapel last year, working with Craig Milde, AIA at Design + Advice Architects as well as the City of Jackson, Missouri, the chapel’s property Trustees, and other church and community leaders.

GDS’ purpose for this project was to provide Site and Landscape Master Planning documents for the existing historic chapel and cemetery site located in Jackson, Missouri. The site currently has an existing chapel built in 1819, the Williams Cabin and natural spring, a building serving as the caretaker house, the cemetery grounds south of County Road 36, and other accessory buildings and improvements.

The Old McKendree Chapel Master Plan provided design recommendations and guidelines for the following program elements and improvements:

  • FUTURE FACILITIES – Plan for future Visitors Center for meeting space, restrooms, interpretive center; recommendations for dedication elements such as trees, plaques, donor pavers, benches, garden
  • ENTRANCE AND PARKING LOT IMPROVEMENTS – Plan for parking area for 150 vehicles also to include a bus turnaround at the future Visitor’s Center; planned entrance road improvement for bus access to future expanded parking area
  • OTHER BUILDINGS & STRUCTURES – Provide for additional picnic areas or a small pavilion with restroom for small gatherings, family events; and develop existing Williams Cabin as an interpretive museum displaying period items and relics of the early 1800’s era
  • HISTORIC PRESERVATION – Featuring the path of an historic railway that cuts through the site, future plans provide for additional preservation methods for chapel site such as the wagon stage area, natural spring and the Williams Cabin
  • SIGNAGE AND INFORMATION – Provide improvements to the entrance sign for better visibility; wayfinding plan for directional signs, parking, visitor welcome/rules for the property, map of the property; and additional interpretive signs for the natural spring, old railroad line, natural resources i.e. trees, woodland, creek-riparian habitat, preservation areas
  • TRAIL SYSTEM – Create a trail system that continues to cemetery and provides a good connection, establish a Native Wildflower Trail that ties into interpretive areas on the chapel site for walking tours and provide a Cemetery trail for walking tours, history, areas for reflection/meditation
  • ADA ACCESSIBILITY  Provide ADA access to existing chapel and restrooms, along with ADA designated parking
  • SITE FURNITURE AND ACCESSORIES – Recommendations for park benches for seating at key locations i.e. trail head, contemplative areas, restroom facility, drop off/parking area; provide for trash receptacles, a designated smoking station, bike racks and security bollards for restricted areas
  • NATURAL RESOURCE PRESERVATION AND ENHANCEMENT – Provide for preservation of Creek & Drainageways by creating a riparian habitat with erosion control, and preservation and enhancement of woodland wildlife habitat, and reserve and protect few remaining Liberty Trees that remain
  • LANDSCAPE IMPROVEMENTS AND BUFFERING – Provide for noise and visual buffering, enhancement of existing features on the property with native plants 
  • STORM WATER MANAGEMENT – Recommendations for flow control of tributary creeks with rock check dams; provide for mitigation of runoff from adjacent subdivision development with bio-swales, basins, plantings
  • LIGHTING AND SECURITY – Secure perimeter fencing around the historic chapel site, and a locked gate access to certain areas of the property for additional security; and additional lighting for chapel, Williams Cabin, entrance road access, parking lot
  • BUDGET AND FUNDING – Long-term plan for the Board to prioritize projects; recommendations for local grants, donations, supporters, and recommendations for short- and long-range funding mechanisms.    

For more information regarding the Gateway Design Studio, LLC and the Old McKendree Chapel Master Plan project, the public can contact Patrick Worzer at (314) 703-1800 or visit the company’s web site at


Gateway Design Studio, LLC Celebrates Pasadena Parkway & Pine Lawn Community Park Project Completion

R. Patrick Worzer with MSD’s Bruce Litzsinger

Ribbon Cutting hosted by the Project Leaders & Community Partners Beyond Housing Metropolitan Sewer District, Cities of Northwoods and Pine Lawn   

Gateway Design Studio, LLC a professional planning, landscape architectural and environmental design firm located in St. Louis – was one of the key partners on hand at the ribbon cutting event for the recently completed Pine Lawn Community Park project. The event commemorated the completion of both Pine Lawn Community Park and Pasadena Blvd. Parkway—a new walkable environment along Pasadena Blvd.

The highlight of the project is the transformation of vacant, derelict buildings into the 3.3-acre Pine Lawn Community Park—a new neighborhood park and hub for community activity that includes a playground, walking paths, and a multipurpose field. The project also includes the transformation of a half-mile stretch of Pasadena Blvd into a new walkable environment with sidewalks, street medians, and a roundabout to slow down traffic and increase safety for residents and students at the nearby Barack Obama Elementary School. The new neighborhood Park is situated across from Beyond Housing headquarters in Pine Lawn.

Both are the result of Heart of Pine Lawn/Northwoods—a $5.6 million project and collaboration between the two cities, community development organization Beyond Housing, and the Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District’s (MSD) Project Clear. Through a Rainscaping Large Grant, the Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District’s MSD Project Clear initiative contributed $3.1 million to the project. The 24:1 Community Land Trust funded the remaining $2.5 million.

The Heart of Pine Lawn/Northwoods beautification and water management project was funded  by MSD Project Clear, 24:1 Community Land Trust, and NeighborWorks America, and managed by Beyond Housing.

BH (Beyond Housing) bought out all the properties which were abandoned, unsafe and in poor condition in order to create this new park. The project started in 2014 as part of MSD’s Project Clear initiative, which allows communities to receive grant money to help mitigate and control storm water runoff within certain areas of the St. Louis Metropolitan area.

Gateway Design Studio, LLC (GDS) was the Landscape Architect for both the Pasadena Blvd. road improvements and the community park (all part of Project Clear). GDS provided concept plans, construction documents and construction phase oversight for both projects, and worked           with the following project team to implement the project – KPFF Engineers (civil/site); G & W Engineering (civil/site/electrical); Fingerhut Consulting (owner rep); EM Harris (general contractor); NuToys Leisure Products (playground consultant); and Focal Pointe (playground contractor).

In addition to the landscaping, GDS utilized trees acquired from Missouri Releaf program. The       park includes a bio-retention basin designed as part of the MSD Project Clear program with plant material specified as per MSD’s requirements. Many trees, shrubs, ornamental grasses and perennial flowers were selected to be drought, urban tolerant and primarily native to Missouri.

Park highlights include:

  • An ADA-accessible 6 ft. wide Walking Trail and Ramps
  • The all-Inclusive playground designed by GDS and NuToys Leisure Products
  • Picnic benches
  • Park benches/trash receptacles
  • Graffiti-proof coatings on the playground equipment, park furniture and monument sign
  • A dedication plaque at the founder’s circle which tells the history and story of the Pine Lawn community.

Important safety features were incorporated in the design/plans in order to keep kids and families safe while using the park:

  • 35 ft. high vandal-proof lighting and light poles throughout the park to provide a “Moon Lighting” effect and increased security from dusk to dawn.
  • Painted steel bollards along Pasadena Boulevard to protect the playground area
  • Use of low deciduous shrubs and open deciduous canopy trees for visibility.

Commenting on the recently completed project, Gateway Design Studio Owner/Principal R. Patrick Worzer, ASLA notes, “We are pleased to have had the opportunity to team with BH and the other consultant team members to provide a vision for this new park space within the north St. Louis County 24:1 Community. This park represents a positive result of various stakeholders working together impacting and improving the Pine Lawn and Northwoods neighborhood for the benefit of its residents and their families.”

He adds, “The Pine Lawn Community Park project reflects our continued planning and design commitment of providing “Vision, Sustainability and Purpose.” We look forward to future collaborative project opportunities to make a difference in our community!”

For more information regarding the Gateway Design Studio, LLC and the recently completed Pine Lawn Community Park and Pasadena Parkway projects, the public can contact Patrick Worzer at (314) 703-1800 or visit the company’s web site at 

R. Patrick Worzer, ASLA, RLA, CLARB serves as the principal owner and design leader for Gateway Design Studio, LLC, a professional planning, landscape architectural and environmental design firm located in St. Louis, Mo. He can be reached via email at 

Gateway Design Studio, LLC is a next generation design firm based on over 25-years commitment of experience and service to many of our past and present clients. GDS serves its clients by providing innovative urban planning, landscape architecture and environmental design within the Midwest region. Past projects range in construction value from $25,000 to $10 Million.