Building the River Ring: Our Environmental Initiative
A decade ago, St. Louis citizens came together in unprecedented unity to make an enduring commitment to the region’s future by dedicating resources toward an environmental initiative that would create the Great Rivers Greenway District in St. Louis City, St. Louis County and St. Charles County, Missouri–and its Illinois complement, the Metro-East Park and Recreation District in Madison and St. Clair Counties.
At this time, the people of St. Louis initiated a fundamental transformation of the region’s quality of life, environment and economy, setting the stage for the development of an environmental conservation movement in St. Louis that would bring increased health, community and connection to the region.
Since 2004, Great Rivers Greenway has been guided by its original framework plan, Building the River Ring, which emphasized high-impact investments via land acquisition and greenway facility construction. This regional plan update expands upon the original plan’s framework, with this action plan to build, promote and sustain the investment being made on greenway development throughout the region.
Purpose of the Plan
Great Rivers Greenway is a relatively young governmental organization, currently celebrating its first ten years of operation. As it transitions into its second decade, it has become necessary for the District to update its plan to address new challenges and opportunities for the River Ring’s future, ensuring the long-term quality of its investment in greenway facilities and environmental conservation. More specifically, the purpose of the regional plan update is to incorporate the following aspects into the framework for building the River Ring:
Evaluation: Establish principles and criteria to evaluate greenway projects and their potential to generate social, environmental and economic benefits.
Priorities: Establish principles and criteria to prioritize ongoing and future greenway projects.
Partners: Strengthening existing and identify new partnerships for collaborating on River Ring projects in order to leverage resources and expand Great Rivers Greenway’s impact across the region to further our environmental initiative.
Communication: Expand awareness of Great Rivers Greenway and the River Ring, in part by engaging residents and community leaders, to increase facility use and expand support for the District.
The Update to the Regional Plan was completed in the summer of 2011 and approved by the Great Rivers Greenway’s Board of Directors in August, 2011.