Growing green spaces
New St. Charles County park developed with community input plants 120 acres in the heart of suburban development
By Brett Auten
A place of beauty and respite placed near bustling development is edging closer to reality.
The St. Charles County Parks Department unveiled plans to move forward with the Sammelmann Farm, which was acquired by St. Charles County in July 2014. The land will be developed into a new park with amenities for all residents.
With all eyes on spring of 2018 for the completion date, the 120-acre park – which will join Heritage Park, College Meadows and the Youth Activity Park as facilities in suburban settings – is starting to take shape.
Located between Pitman Hill and Kisker Roads (where the entrance to the park will be positioned), the property was purchased through the county’s Park Fund, a local use tax approved by voters in 1997 dedicated to park acquisition, development and operations.
In all, ninety acres will be developed, with the remaining 30 acres reserved for future development. Estimated construction cost of the park is $9 million.
The project went out for bid on Nov. 18 and construction is expected to start in Feb. 2017. SWT Design of St. Louis, the lead design and engineering firm, gathered public and stakeholder feedback into the design plan which was presented recently to the St. Charles County Council.
“The residents in the area are excited about having a county park so close to their homes, and we are just as excited to get started,” says Bettie Yahn-Kramer, Director of Parks. “It’s in the midst of a highly-developed region and will be tremendous asset for families to enjoy real family time.”
A 2014 Parks Department survey of residents, and later a public meeting, helped nail down the amenities. The new park will feature a walking and biking trail system, specifically a 1.6 mile trail on the perimeter of the park with smaller trails inside the perimeter.
“That was the number-one response,” Yahn-Kramer said “It was the most valued and highly anticipated in the park. There will also be smaller tails intersecting for shorter loops.”
What will surely get plenty of traffic is the destination playground. Designed for children of all abilities, the playground encompasses social/emotional, physical, sensory, cognitive and communication development. The playground will have an interactive water play area with features that are motion-initiated, a music play area, and an adventure climbing play areas with climbing features; as well as inclusive swings and a hillside slid
“It’s will be the signature of the park,” Yahn-Kramer said. “It’s over an acre in size and accessible by all abilities.”
Another top request will be the two lakes stocked with fish and an off-the-leash dog park that will be divided into small and large dog sections.
“A lot of folks have four-footed family members that they like to bring to the park with them,” Yahn-Kramer said. “We’ll have a nice off-leash area for those pets. People love those off-leash areas.”
The park will have three open-play fields encompassing six acres and a 100-person signature picnic shelter overlooking a lake and surrounded by a garden, along with another 50-person picnic shelter. The silo on the property will be integrated into the design. At the top of a hill, a boardwalk from the silo will span out into the park, allowing visitors to have a full scenic view of the property and the playground below.
“Through their feedback, the citizens of St. Charles County played a huge part in shaping this project, and each and every one deserves a ‘thank you,’” Yahn-Kramer said. “We worked to include as many features requested as possible and I think citizens are going to be very happy.”
CUTLINES: Images courtesy St. Charles County
Cover-Park1: This artistic rendering shows the completed playground at the new 120-acre park being developed at the Sammelmann Farm property located between Pitman Hill and Kisker Roads.