What Made Us Smile in 2023

2023 was a great year for the greenways! We welcomed almost 3 million visits across the now 135 miles of free, accessible trails, and also cut the ribbon on EIGHT new greenway segments, with more to come in 2024! In addition to these historic milestones, there were so many other wonderful moments that added up to a fantastic year at Great Rivers Greenway.   

Here are just a few (of so many!) things that made us smile in 2023: 

Watching the St. Louis Zoo’ newest train engine—the Mary Meachum—roll out of the station. Thanks to the Saint Louis Zoo for naming their first electric train after our own Underground Railroad legend. (For more about her and the site of escape on the Mississippi Greenway: www.MaryMeachum.org)

Welcoming more than 2,515 volunteers to the greenways for conservation workdays this year. The greenways are looking good thanks to their hard work picking up trash, planting trees and removing invasive species. (All together, they served a total of 6,889 hours- the equivalent of 3 full-time people!)

Watching people discover the St. Louis region through the greenways- including the City Parks Alliance visitor from Los Angeles who described our city as “Something unexpected that sparks joy”: A reflection on the St. Louis Park Study Tour. Another highlight was the New York Times article that named the Market Streets section of the Brickline Greenway one of 7 Great Walks in 7 Great Cities around world!

Meeting the visitor from New Hampshire on one of our Beginner Birdwatching Walks with St. Louis Audubon Society, who traveled to here specifically to witness spring migration on the Mississippi Flyway!

Greeting so many great people around the region on Bike to Work Day, It was great to hear about how they combine greenways, streets, parks & transit to get around town!

Hosting our first-ever Regional Greenway Leaders’ Summit to grapple with some of the big challenges around the long-term care of the greenways. We engaged with more than 150 area Mayors, Parks Directors, Executive Directors & other partners and then welcomed 50 people for an all-day summit filled with great, candid discussion and brainstorming around resources, communications and ongoing operations and maintenance. More to come in 2024!

Celebrating EIGHT new greenways in eight different ways—everything from parades to live music to marching bands & yard games & ice cream trucks! In February, we also welcomed former residents of Mill Creek Valley along, with artist Damon Davis at a special celebration at Pillars of the Valley art installation along the Brickline Greenway at CITYPARK Stadium.

Crossing paths with the McCulley family, who waited two years so they could buy a house on Gravois Greenway: Grant’s Trail.

Launching our Greenway Goods merchandise program, in partnership with St. Louis Women’s Creative and their shop, Procure. This long-awaited program lets people support both local artists and makers as well as the greenways themselves by buying apparel, home goods and gifts that give back. (Shop at GreenwayGoods.com)

Thanking the City of Crestwood for prioritizing a new connection between Gravois Greenway: Grant’s Trail and the new 43-acre Crestwood Crossing Development. They partnered with McBride Homes and Dierbergs to build a bridge that links the new neighborhoods and stores to the greenway.

Hosting nearly 75 people for our first-ever Greenway 101 to make sure local businesses, contractors and other freelance professionals understand the process for contracting and working with Great Rivers Greenway!

Receiving $15 million in funding for the Brickline Greenway in the State of Missouri’s Capital Improvement budget, one of many investments that made this major $245 million public-private partnership already 40% funded in this early stage!