The St. Louis County Parks Foundation has received the 2019 Citation – Organization Award from the Missouri Park and Recreation Association in recognition of the Foundation’s outstanding contribution and support of the state’s recreation and parks. The award was presented at the Missouri Park and Recreation Association’s annual conference in Branson on February 28. The Foundation is a public/private partnership started in 2015 to better connect people to their parks and bridge the gap between the public funds available and the additional money needed to care for, restore and enhance all St. Louis County Parks.
“We are committed to making new recreational opportunities available for the entire St. Louis County population,” said Mark Ohlendorf, President of the St. Louis County Parks Foundation Board of Directors. “Being recognized statewide for our work is extremely gratifying for our volunteers and for our funding partners. We are truly honored.”
Through partnerships with corporations, non-profit organizations and individuals, the Foundation has funded a series of projects including the new 1.4-mile, $125,000 Family Fitness Trail recently opened at Spanish Lake Park in North St. Louis County. Designed for outdoor exercise and active play the entire family can enjoy together, the new trail features four separate educational and nature-themed children’s play stations plus a variety of adult exercise equipment, benches and new landscaping linked by an existing paved trail. Animal climbing structures featured at each play station are along the same lines as Turtle Park near the St. Louis Zoo.
Funded in part by a $50,000 grant from the Gateway Foundation, the Family Fitness Trail is the first in a planned series of new privately funded recreational amenities and improvement projects in various St. Louis County Parks to be built by the Foundation. Similar Family Trails are planned at Jefferson Barracks Park and Creve Coeur Lake Memorial Park.
Over the past three years, the Foundation has been also able to raise funds to donate a new fountain in Tilles Park and make additional purchases of two fountains at Faust Park and Spanish Lake Park and playground equipment at Tilles, Faust, Bee Tree and Suson Parks. In addition, a new gym divider curtain at the North County Recreation Complex, three shade structures at the new Aquatic Center at the Pavilion at Lemay in Jefferson Barracks Park and a new spray pool at Castle Point Park were purchased though funds raised by the Foundation.
Currently, the Foundation is working on a strategic plan that will help provide direction in conjunction with the recently completed Master Plan for the St. Louis County Parks Department.
The Foundation’s leadership includes consists Mark Ohlendorf, President; Ginny McCook, Vice President; Marshall Galliers, Secretary; Eric Moses, Treasurer; Susan Poling, Development Officer; Gene McNary, Board Member, David Weiss, Board Member; Robert Schweizer, Board Member and Debbie Callihan, Board Member.