Butterflies, Bees & Native Plants on the Greenways: 5 Places to Find Them Right Now

Whenever possible, we incorporate habitat restoration into our greenway projects. One way is by removing invasive plants—such as bush honeysuckle—and replacing them with native plants and trees to improve habitat and support pollinators. We also create rain gardens filled with native plants that not only attract bees and butterflies, but also help capture and filter storm water runoff. Here are 5 places to find native plants (and the pollinators they attract!) along greenways:

More Greenways for You in 2018!

Construction Update

Our team has been busy planning and building new greenways for you to explore and enjoy! Thanks to our many partners, and tremendous community feedback, we’ll be cutting the ribbon on several expanded greenways this year. We’ll also break ground on a few new projects in 2018. Here’s a quick update:

River des Peres Greenway
We’re putting the finishing touches on the extension of the River des Peres Greenway from the Shrewsbury- Lansdowne MetroLink to Slay Park. Trees and shrubs are all in place and wayfinding signs will be placed in the coming weeks. Thanks to this most recent expansion, the greenway now stretches a full 9.6 miles and connects to more places than ever before!

Centennial Greenway: Bridges over 364 & 94 in St. Charles County
In April, we’ll celebrate the expansion of the Centennial Greenway in St. Charles County over Highways 364 and 94. It now connects both sides of the community so people can safely walk or ride a bike across these busy highways. New connections to parks, schools, businesses and the Katy Trail on foot or bike are now possible thanks to these two bridges. Save the date for a ribbon cutting celebration with our partners on April 7, 2018!

Mississippi Greenway: Cliff Cave Park
In May, we’ll open the expanded greenway in Cliff Cave Park with a ribbon cutting May 4th and Community Day May 6th. This 2 mile expansion connects the existing greenway to the upper section of the park so it is more accessible for everyone. There’s also a new parking lot, restrooms and a neighborhood spur that connects to Telegraph Road. Wait ‘til you see the amazing view of the Mississippi River from the new overlook on the bluff!

Fee Fee Greenway: Aquaport to Creve Coeur Park
On June 14th, we’ll cut another ribbon on the expanded Fee Fee Greenway. This two mile extension along Quarry at Crystal Springs golf course makes it possible to walk or ride a bike all the way from Aquaport in Maryland Heights to Creve Coeur Park.

Gravois Greenway: Grant’s Trail
On June 24th, we’ll open the new trailhead at the south end of the greenway near Orlando’s. The first phase of this eagerly anticipated expansion includes restrooms, benches, landscaping and a play structure. As part of the festivities, we’ll also host an open house so you can learn more about the second phase of the project that will extend the greenway an additional two miles to connect with the River des Peres Greenway.

Deer Creek Greenway: Deer Creek Park to Lorraine Davis Park
Next fall, we’ll celebrate the 1.5 mile extension of the Deer Creek Greenway from Webster Groves Deer Creek Park to Lorraine Davis Park. When complete, there will be a total of 2.2 miles to explore and enjoy! There will also be a new boardwalk, landscaping with native plants, and a new pavilion with picnic tables and a drinking fountain in Lorraine Davis Park.

What’s Coming in 2018

The Great Rivers Greenway Board has approved funding to advance several projects in 2018. Here are a few highlights:

Chouteau Greenway
Together with our partners, we’ll advance the concepts for the Chouteau Greenway as the design competition continues through the end of June. See the latest updates here. Get the latest information on the Chouteau Greenway here.

Maline Greenway
Construction will soon begin on the first segment of the Maline Greenway in Bella Fontaine Park. Plans include the renovation of existing trails, replacement of three pedestrian bridges, and construction of an underpass beneath Lewis and Clark Boulevard that will connect both sides of the park, providing area residents with a safer way to enjoy all the park’s amenities and improved options for accessing transit.

New Trailhead on Deer Creek Greenway
Bids are out for a new trailhead on Marshall Avenue along the route of the Deer Creek Greenway that’s currently under construction. It will offer parking, a water fountain, a pavilion, benches, restored streambank habitat and more!

Centennial Greenway: Interstate I-70 and Delmar Improvements
We are working with our partners on the final designs to improve the greenway where it crosses over Delmar at I-170 in the City of University City. The goal is to make it safer and easier for people to navigate this intersection whether they are on foot, bike or in a car.

Stay tuned for more updates!


Construction Underway on First Phase of Gravois Greenway Extension and Trailhead

Construction of Gravois Greenway (Grant’s Trail) Underway

The greenway expansion project linking Grant’s Trail and the River des Peres Greenway is starting with the construction of an improved trailhead

Construction to extend the Gravois Greenway (Grant’s Trail) and connect it with the River des Peres Greenway began Monday, Sept. 25, 2017, with the closure of the southern trailhead near Orlando’s Event and Conference Center (4300 Hoffmeister Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63125). During construction, greenway users cannot enter or exit the greenway at this location and need to plan their walks, runs or bike rides accordingly.

The last 750 feet of the existing paved route is also closed for about eight months while construction of the improved trailhead is underway. The trailhead improvements include restrooms, benches, landscaping and a play structure.

To lessen the inconvenience to greenway users, Great Rivers Greenway has leased a 16-vehicle parking lot, adjacent to Grant’s Trail at Reavis Barracks Road that will serve as a temporary trailhead. No other trailheads or designated parking areas along the eight-mile Gravois Greenway will be impacted by this construction.

To commemorate the start of this long-awaited greenway expansion, Great Rivers Greenway held a “Last Hurrah” celebration on Saturday Sept. 23. Area residents were invited to stop by the existing trailhead at Orlando’s. Great Rivers Greenway staff was on hand with coffee and information about the project. Thanks to Midwest BankCentre for supply granola bars for those needing a snack after their walk or bike ride!

“People across the region have been eagerly waiting for this project to begin, and we are excited to break ground,” says Megan Riechmann, Great Rivers Greenway Project Manager. “We know that many people use the trailhead at Orlando’s, and we appreciate everyone’s patience and understanding as we build this new trailhead and expanded greenway for all to enjoy.”

Construction on this first phase of the Gravois Greenway extension is expected to last into spring 2018.

Phase two of the project is scheduled to begin in 2018 and will extend the existing eight-mile Gravois Greenway an additional two miles to connect with the River des Peres Greenway.

Parking Information

There are multiple trailheads and designated parking lots available for people who want to walk, run, or ride a bike on the Gravois Greenway.  All are listed below, from north to south starting at the Kirkwood Trailhead at Holmes & Leffingwell to the new temporary Trailhead on Reavis Barracks Road.

Greenway Construction Update: August 2017

Our project managers have been busy overseeing greenway construction throughout the St. Louis region. Here are the latest updates:

In St. Charles County, crews have been hard at work building the supporting walls for the bridges that will extend the Centennial Greenway over Highways 364 and 94. The bridge truss segments will be assembled on site and then separately hoisted into place in September. This will require four overnight lane closures and all project partners are working together to minimize inconvenience to motorists who live and work in this area. Stay tuned for the exact dates when these new bridges will be set in place!

In south St. Louis County, work continues in the Mississippi Greenway: Cliff Cave County Park where contractors have placed two bridges, including a 210 foot bridge over Cliff Cave Road. Work continues on a new overlook which will provide visitors with a safe vista of the Mississippi River’s breathtaking grandeur. Paving on the east side of the project, the new parking lot, and restroom installation is planned for the coming weeks.

In the City of St. Louis, construction of a new extension to the River des Peres Greenway is substantially complete between Lansdowne and Interstate 44. Work continues on the Lansdowne bridge where the greenway will connect to the Shrewsbury MetroLink Station. Contractors are now focused on the stretch of greenway north of Interstate 44 to Francis R. Slay Park. Keep an eye out for new trees that will be installed this fall!

In Maryland Heights, the expansion of the Fee Fee Greenway from its current endpoint in McKelvey Woods to Creve Coeur County Park is well underway. Crews are preparing to set a 70 foot bridge across Fee Fee Creek next month. When the project is complete in early to mid-2018, the three mile greenway will connect the new Maryland Heights Community Center and Aquaport with Creve Coeur County Park.

Coming Soon: Bids for the construction of the first phase of the Gravois Greenway expansion and Deer Creek Greenway extension to Lorraine Davis Park were received the week of August 21. The Great Rivers Greenway Board of Directors will be reviewing them at our September board meeting. We’ll let you know when you can look forward to these projects breaking ground!


Gravois Greenway (Grant’s Trail) Open House April 25th

If you missed this event, please check out the recap and online survey right here!

Join us for an open house on Tuesday April 25th to learn the latest details about the plans to improve and expand the Gravois Greenway (Grant’s Trail)

Rendering by Forum Studio

We are hosting a community open house on Tuesday, April 25th, 2017, to share the latest details about the plans to improve and expand the Gravois Greenway (Grant’s Trail) to connect with the River Des Peres Greenway. The first phase of the project—a partnership with St. Louis County Parks, private donors and Orlando’s Event Centers—will begin later this year with a new trailhead and improvements at the current southern end of the Gravois Greenway. The second phase of construction to complete the connection—a partnership with St. Louis County Parks, the City of St. Louis, Missouri Department of Transportation and Republic Recycling Services—is planned for 2018.

The open house will be held at Orlando’s (4300 Hoffmeister Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63125) from 4:30 – 7:30 p.m. People are invited to stop by anytime during that timeframe to ask questions, review maps, and learn more about the plans for the expanded greenway. There will be a brief presentation at 6 p.m. Great Rivers Greenway staff and partners will also seek feedback on how people plan to use the new greenway and ask for input on what kinds of amenities they would like along the way such as benches or shade structures.

Rendering by Forum Studio

“This connection is the number one most requested project and people want to see it come to life,” says Great Rivers Greenway Chief Executive Officer, Susan Trautman.  “When it is complete, hundreds of thousands of people who live, work, and go to school in these densely populated parts of St. Louis County and St. Louis City will be able to safely walk or ride a bike to get where they need to go. The list of parks, schools, neighborhoods, business districts and transit hubs that will be linked together by greenways is remarkable—and they will open up a whole new way for people to get there.”

The first phase of the project includes restrooms, benches, new landscaping, a climbing play structure and the initial extension of the Gravois Greenway’s current endpoint near Orlando’s Event and Conference Center. The second phase will extend the existing eight miles of Gravois Greenway an additional two miles to connect with the River des Peres Greenway. When the full extension is complete, there will be three greenways linked together—Gravois, River des Peres and Mississippi—with 21 continuous miles to explore and enjoy. The route will make it possible for people to walk, run, or ride a bike between Kirkwood, River des Peres Park, the Shrewsbury MetroLink Station, Jefferson Barracks Park and everything else in between without ever leaving a greenway.

“The Gravois Greenway is an incredible asset for our region, and this expansion will promote connectivity,” says St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger. “We are expanding a wonderful space to enjoy fresh air and exercise while connecting to more parks and greenspace. When it’s done, you will be able to go all the way from Officer Blake C. Snyder Memorial Park to Jefferson Barracks Park. It will also take you to Carondelet Park, Willmore Park, and Francis R. Slay Park in the City of St. Louis.”

The local firms working to bring this project to life include DGRE Studio, LLC; Reitz & Jens Inc.; Crawford Murphy & Tilly Inc.; CBB; Civil Design Inc. and BSI Constructors.

For more information about the Gravois Greenway, click here.

Grants Trail Glowed for 2016 Night of Lights “Give and Glow” Celebration December 4th

nite-litesPeople came from across the region to see Gravois Greenway (Grant’s Trail) aglow to honor our nation’s Veterans. Each individual luminary lining the greenway between Big Bend and Watson Road honored a favorite veteran, past or present. All proceeds benefited USA Cares, a non-profit organization dedicated to meeting the practical and financial needs of current and recently discharged military personnel and their families.

The event kicked off with a trumpet reveille followed by a flag ceremony and the Star-Spangled Banner. People explored the greenway and then warmed up at one of several bonfires on the Sappington House Grounds. Others sipped hot chocolate and spiced cider in the Barn Restaurant at Sappington House. Entertainment was provided by local girl scout carolers. The 620th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion and Crestwood Fire Department had a fire truck and armored vehicles on display for tours and photos. Even Santa Claus stopped by to see the glowing greenway and to visit with children. Plans are already in the works for the 5th Annual Night of Lights in December 2017!

Nite of Lights “Give and Glow” to light up Grant’s Trail in the Gravois Greenway December 4th

20161028_110210Grant’s Trail in the Gravois Greenway will be illuminated  for the fourth annual Crestwood Nite of Lights: Give and Glow Celebration on December 4th.

Bring your friends, family, and four legged friends to see the greenway lit by luminaries between Big Bend and Watson Road.

Each individual luminary honors a favorite veteran, past or present. They are available for a $5 donation with all proceeds benefiting USA Cares, a non-profit organization dedicated to meeting the practical and financial needs of current and recently discharged military personnel and their families. USA Cares usually responds to calls for assistance within 48 hours of their request. Since it was founded, they have provided more than $11 million to help service persons and their families in crisis. Luminaries can be purchased online for $5 here.

The celebration also includes bonfires, tours of the historic Sappington House, complimentary hot chocolate,  spiced cider and cookies on the back porch of The Barn Restaurant.  Get your photo taken with Santa and enjoy holiday musical entertainment   by local Girl Scout carolers. A Crestwood Fire Truck and the 620th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion and Armored vehicles will be on display.

nite1The Night of Lights will begin with a trumpet reveille at 5:20 followed by a flag ceremony and the Star-Spangled Banner. At the end of the evening, it will close with taps and a  release of special luminary balloons into the night sky.

Free parking will be available at Crestwood School on Sappington Blvd as well as on Reco Drive, just south of the Sappington Barn Complex. The event will be held rain or shine. For more information, LIKE the Nite of Lights: Give and Glow page on Facebook.

Gravois Greenway (Grant’s Trail) Extension Update

grants extensionPlans to extend the Gravois Greenway (Grant’s Trail) from Orlando Gardens to the River des Peres Greenway are moving forward with construction slated to begin in 2017!

When complete, it will be a continuous 17 mile route linking cities, neighborhoods and portions of unincorporated St. Louis County from Kirkwood to the St. Louis City limits near River City Casino. It will also tie together three greenways (Gravois, River des Peres and the Mississippi) that cross a large swath of south St. Louis County and the City of St. Louis. Construction is already underway on the extension of the River des Peres Greenway from Alabama to the Mississippi Greenway at River City Casino and should be complete in early 2017.

While the Gravois Greenway extension is one of the most eagerly anticipated connections for people across the region, and a high priority for our staff and partners, we’ve had to overcome a number of challenges to keep the project moving forward.

The original route proposed in 2013 was ultimately deemed unbuildable due to private property that was unavailable for greenway development. Our team “took it back to the drawing board” and determined the most direct and safest

Grant's Trail Gravois Creek Greenway St. Louis County Travel Mode: Walk, Bike, Hike, Mixed Use Focus: Nature, Transportation, Health, Connecting

route for people using the greenway requires two bridges and an underpass.  These changes increased the estimated cost to $10.2 million and required that we leverage grants and private donations to fund the project.  We have already been approved for $2.6 million in Transportation Alternative Program funding from East West Gateway and a $1 million private grant from the Mysun Foundation. We are continuing to seek additional funding opportunities as we work towards final construction documents.

Multiple partners including St. Louis County Parks, the Missouri Department of Transportation, the City of St. Louis, Ameren Missouri and the St. Louis Metropolitan Sewer District are actively involved and working together to extend the greenway. The next steps include focus groups with adjacent businesses, property owners and community leaders along with a public open house. Stay tuned for project updates and details on upcoming meetings.

Where will these three greenways take you? From the City of Kirkwood to Carondelet Park in St. Louis and all of these places along the way!

Jefferson Barracks Park
Sappington House in Crestwood
River City Casino
Grant’s Farm
Clydesdale Park
Lansdowne Shrewsbury Metrolink Station
Loughborough Commons
Grant’s View Library
YMCA of Greater Saint Louis: Carondelet Park Rec Complex
Fultz Field in St. Louis
Affton Athletic Complex
Lemay Park
Whitecliff Park in Crestwood
Pavilion at Lemay
US Grant Historic Site
Oak Bend Library

Greenway Project Updates

What’s happening around the greenways? Here are a few of the updates on what’s happening right now:

Gravois Greenway: Orlando’s to River des Peres Greenway (Grant’s Trail)

Designs for this much-anticipated extension that will extend the Gravois Greenway from Orlando’s to the River des Peres Greenway are underway. As with all rrmapprojects, the safety of the people using the greenway is a priority. To make this connection a reality, it will require two bridges and an underpass for an estimated cost of $10.2 million. We are working to leverage grants and private donations to fund the project. We have already been approved for a $2 million Transportation Alternative Program Grant from East West Gateway and a $1 million private grant from the Mysun Foundation. The goal is to begin construction in mid-2017. Stay tuned!

River des Peres Greenway

The 1 mile extension of the River des Peres Greenway from the Alabama Bridge to the Mississippi Greenway near the River City Casino will begin construction in mid-June and be finished by fall so you can connect to the Mississippi River Greenway and Jefferson Barracks Park! On the other end, planning continues on the extension from Lansdowne to Francis Slay Park (Intersection of Canterbury & Ellendale). Final designs are being developed with construction slated for late 2016 through 2017.

When both projects are complete, there will be a continuous path from Francis Slay Park in the City of St. Louis all the way to Jefferson Barracks County Park in south St. Louis County.  (That’s 13.5 total miles including the Christy Greenway and Carondelet Connector!)

Chouteau Greenway

The St. Louis region was awarded a $10.3 million US Department of Transportation TIGER grant (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) to construct a new MetroLink light rail station along with places for people to walk or ride bikes through the Cortex District.

As a primary partner on the application, Great Rivers Greenway will develop the first segment of the Chouteau Greenway between Boyle Avenue and Sarah Avenue as part of the overall project’s local match toward the TIGER grant. As soon as contract negotiations are complete, the project team will be announced and design work will begin immediately.  Design and engineering should continue through the end of 2016 with an early 2017 ground breaking for the new Boyle Avenue MetroLink Station and first constructed segment of Chouteau Greenway.

Maline Greenway

Construction of three replacement bridges in Bella Fontaine Park, new and refurbished trails, and an underpass that will connect both sides of Lewis & Clark Boulevard on this first 3.5 mile segment of the Maline Greenway are expected to begin later this year.

Centennial Greenway: Bridges over 364 & 94

This project will connect the existing Centennial Greenway to neighboring communities on the other side of the intersection of highways 364 and 94.  These two bridges will eliminate this barrier for people walking or riding bikes and connect the existing trail system to Wapelhorst Park in St. Charles and Laurel Park in St. Peters.  MoDOT is currently reviewing final plans and construction is anticipated to begin in spring 2017.

St. Vincent Greenway

ST VINCENT RUTH PORTER MAN WALKING SUMMERThe Loop Trolley Project on DeBaliviere Avenue that is extending the St. Vincent Greenway from Delmar to Forest Park is underway and will be finished this fall. Design and engineering of the route identified in 2014 from Etzel and Skinker in Wellston to St. Vincent County Park will continue through 2017. A new 1-acre  “pocket park” will come to life at the corner of Etzel and Skinker in October 2016! Click here for the details.

When this “missing link” is complete, it will connect the cities of Wellston and Pagedale to the Wellston and St. Charles Rock Road MetroLink stations and St. Vincent County Park. It will also complete a seven mile, continuous greenway stretching all the way from Forest Park, across the University of Missouri-St. Louis Campus, to the North Hanley MetroLink Station!

You can find the current and future status of each greenway on the master plan page here.

Show your Support of Grant’s Trail Extension in Gravois Greenway

The busiest greenway in Great Rivers Greenway’s River Ring system is Gravois Greenway (Grant’s Trail), with more than 560,000 users each year. The most-asked question we get from folks all over our 1,200 square mile district is when it will be extended to connect to the River des Peres Greenway. This connectivity allows people to get around town, enjoy fresh air and exercise and explore our region’s great rivers and parks!

grants b
Click the photo for a larger view.

Because it’s such a critical connection and complex project, we’re seeking federal funding to leverage our local taxpayers’ investment. We’ve been recommended for $2 million in funding (thank you to the almost 300 people who sent in a comment during Round 1!), to be determined at the 1/27/16 meeting. Between now and 1/22/16, please consider taking 2 minutes to send an email with your support – it can even be the same comment you sent in before.

Click here, choose “GREAT RIVERS GREENWAY”, “GRANT’S TRAIL EXTENSION” and then “CLICK HERE” and it prompts an email to give feedback. Thank you in advance!

The priority of this project is safety. There are a few worthwhile components of the project where we must take extra measures to care for the greenway users:

At Bayless, crossing a total of 6 lanes, with 4 crossings, with interstate-level traffic, is a challenge. We’re building a bridge for the greenway. There has already been one accident with injury at this location between people driving and riding bikes. We have tried to navigate this type of crossing before and citizens have continually told us they are deterred from using that greenway because of the difficult intersection.

When crossing Weber Road, a tunnel is needed to cross the street without disrupting people’s homes.

grants b
Click the photo to see a larger view.

Another bridge is needed to cross the River des Peres to connect to that greenway; MSD’s infrastructure (which takes precedent) severely restricts our options. We looked at traveling north to the bridge at Morgan Ford; it would cost as much as a new bridge and take people over a mile out of their way. If we head south, we run into active Union Pacific railroad lines, so the proposed bridge location is the best choice.

This project in particular will have an incredibly high impact. It’s worth the investment to deliver an asset for both transportation and recreation to hundreds of thousands of users in the next few years. We look forward to leveraging public and private dollars that will support the taxpayer investment.