Greening North St. Louis County
Construction for Maline Greenway began March 13 and when completed it will cover seven miles
By Charlotte Beard
Great Rivers Greenway has begun another project to help improve the quality of life for communities in St. Louis. Construction for Maline Greenway in North St. Louis County began March 13. When Maline is completed it will cover seven miles.
The greenway construction will take place in stages, with this first 1.5 miles beginning in Bella Fontaine County Park in Bellefontaine Neighbors with tree removal along the planned trail corridor. This phase of the project, in partnership with St. Louis County Parks Department, costs $2.6 million and will take approximately 12 months to complete. The plan for this construction is to create an efficient connection between both sides of the park, making it easier for people of all ages and abilities to connect to transit on Lewis and Clark Blvd.
The construction project for the park will include ADA accessible walking and biking paths. Seth Treptow, Communications Manager for Great Rivers Greenway, addressed the importance of accommodating portions of the community who use wheelchairs, as well as those who do not.
“Some of those things [to look] at are the degree of slope the trail can have, how wide the trail is, the distance between the trail and any amenities such as signs or water fountains – having access around certain things. So, everything we look at we try to make sure we’re building at a grade and degree of incline that anyone can use no matter what their age or ability could be,” Treptow said.
Additional improvements to the park include a new rain garden and the restoration of the Maline Creek stream bank to better manage storm water and prevent erosion. Construction has been coordinated with Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District to coincide with planned improvements to the waste and storm water infrastructure in the area. Treptow provided more insight for the rain garden.
“A rain garden is a method of storm water management. When you have pervious surfaces like trails, parking lots or highways, water doesn’t absorb on those surfaces—it kind of cascades off. That can create a real problem when you’re looking at creeks and streams because they can get overwhelmed very quickly in heavy rain. By reducing the amount of volume coming through the system we also reduce any amount of erosion in our creeks and streams,” Treptow said.
The rain garden is also beneficial to vegetation.
“These plants are specifically acclimated to our region’s climate. In our winters they thrive, in our summers they thrive, they thrive in drought, they thrive in a flood. So, by adding these to the rain garden, with their very deep root systems, they can filter. They will absorb that rain water as it comes through. The water they use helps keep them sustained and the water released from the [rain garden] is then actually filtered through this process. So, [the water] is actually cleaner; fewer pollutants than it would have picked up when it was streaming off the parking lots or roads,” Treptow said.
Other plans for this phase of the project include new landscaping, including more than 300 trees and shrubs along with new seating areas, the replacement of three deteriorated bridges, and a new underpass beneath Lewis and Clark Blvd. to link both sides of the park.
During construction, certain areas of Bella Fontaine Park will be closed off for safety and security purposes. Plans have been previously made to accommodate any activities that would have been scheduled to take place at the park during the year.
The second phase of the Maline Greenway project is expected to connect West Florissant Avenue and Ferguson’s Forestwood Park. Great Rivers Greenway plans to use various avenues for getting community feedback for the second phase of the project not limited to mailings and online internet engagement. This feedback will help with the planning process.
When all phases of the seven-mile Maline Greenway is complete there will be an east-west link between the Mississippi Greenway (sometimes called the Riverfront Trail) and the St. Vincent Greenway in North St. Louis County. The greenway will pass though the cities of St. Louis, Berkeley, Kinloch, Ferguson, Jennings, Moline Acres, Bellefontaine Neighbors and Riverview, and unincorporated St. Louis County.
“We’re really excited to get this project going,” stated Treptow. “It’s something that has been kind of in the works and in discussions for quite some time. We see it as a valuable and great way to connect some very vibrant communities in North St. Louis County. Having a chance to be able to provide recreation and transportation options is really what we’re all about at Great Rivers Greenway. And being able to bring this kind of resource to these communities is something we’re extremely excited about.”
CUTLINE: Images courtesy Great Rivers Greenway
Cover-Greenway1 This rendering shows a completed underpass under Lewis and Clark Blvd. that will allow for easier pedestrian connection as part of the Maline Greenway.