New 120-acre park in Weldon Spring opens to the public after months of anticipation

By Brett Auten

A sun-drenched day set the scene for the launch of Veterans Tribute Park.

The St. Charles County Parks and Recreation Department debuted its newest park over the past weekend with a ribbon cutting and opening. The 120-acre park is located at 1031 Kisker Road in Weldon Spring. St. Charles County Executive Steve Ehlmann said Veterans Tribute Park is unique in many ways and will be a destination for families in St. Charles County and throughout the region.

“It is the only county park of its kind surrounded by residential development in a suburban setting, and there are numerous amenities to enjoy – there is something for everyone,” Ehlmann said.

Among the fresh amenities at Veterans Tribute Park is a destination playground for children of all abilities that encompasses social/emotional, physical, sensory, cognitive and communication development. The playground is divided into zones: interactive and motion-activated water play; music play; adventure play with climbing features; inclusive swings; and a hillside slide.

There is a 1.6-mile paved walking and biking trail system (with smaller trails inside the property). There are two lakes stocked for catch-and-release fishing, an off-leash dog park divided into small and large dog areas, three non-reserve-able, open-play fields encompassing six acres and three reserve-able shelters that accommodate at least 100 guests each.

“We have heard a lot of good feedback on social media,” Mary Enger, Director of Communications with St. Charles County Government, said. “There have been calls for months asking when (Veterans Tribute Park) it will be open.”

A veterans’ memorial plaza in development is scheduled to open in 2019.

The silo on the property, built in 1916, has been preserved and integrated into the design. A boardwalk from the silo spans out into the park, allowing visitors to have a view of the landscape and of the playground.

According to Ehlmann, 90 of the 120 acres of the park have been developed, with the remaining 30 reserved for future development. Construction costs were approximately $7 million, which came from the county’s Parks Fund. Money from the fund is through a local use tax approved by voters in 1997, and is dedicated to park acquisition, development and operations.

In the past 12 years, the county has added nine parks. Two other parks were added to the St. Charles County Parks system this year. In August, Riverside Landing opened, giving boaters free access to the Mississippi River. Located between Kampville Drive and Huster Road in St. Charles, the 7.73-acre park will be further developed into a unique recreational attraction.

In September, The Park at New Melle Lakes had a soft opening for the public. Located at 400 Foristell Road, The Park at New Melle Lakes features an 18-hole championship disc golf course, five lakes for catch-and-release fishing, a 25-acre lake for canoeing and kayaking, hiking and biking on paved trails and picnic areas. Future plans for New Melle Lakes include a dog park, restroom facilities, playground, shelters and camping. The home on the property is being upgraded and will be used as a rental facility.

For more information, visit sccmo.org or call the St. Charles County Parks Department at 636-949-7535.

CUTLINE: Submitted photos