Centennial Greenway: Olive to Warson Park


Project Overview:

Great Rivers Greenway and the City of Olivette are partnering to build an extension of the Centennial Greenway through Olivette so that people can connect on foot, bicycle, stroller, and wheelchair to Warson Park, the new Olivette Community Center, Indian Meadows Park, and the Olive Blvd. stores and restaurants.

This project will extend the Centennial Greenway linking Shaw Park to Olive Blvd near I-170 two miles further west to Warson Park.  When complete, there will be a greenway connection linking Clayton, Ladue, University City and Olivette.

The greenway construction supports actions identified in the Olivette Bike and Walk Plan, the Olivette Parks Master Plan, and the Great Rivers Greenway long-term master plan for this greenway – a 17-mile corridor stretching between Forest Park in the City of St. Louis to Creve Coeur Lake Memorial Park in St. Louis County. This project will be developed in multiple phases.

This greenway will include:

  • Paved trail for walking, running, bicycling, pushing a stroller, and using a wheelchair
  • Native plants to restore the streambank, manage stormwater near the headwaters of the River des Peres, and create a quality habitat for native wildlife
  • Amenities such as benches and signs with information about the nature, culture, and history of the area
  • Connections to local destinations such as Warson Park, the new Olivette Community Center, Indian Meadows Park, and the Olive Blvd. stores and restaurants


The goals of this greenway are to connect people and place within Olivette and to the surrounding region and to create safe and comfortable places for residents of Olivette and the surrounding region to exercise, commute, relax, and connect with nature and other people on the greenway.


Project Location:

The project area extends west on Olive Blvd and will connect the University City Commercial District on Olive, Olivette City Hall, Warson Park, Indian Meadows Park, the headwaters of the River des Peres, the 39N District and Olive Crossings—a planned mixed use development at the corner of Olive and Interstate I-170. Because a portion of the future greenway will require the purchase of private property as well as the use of an abandoned railroad line, the project will be divided into two phases.  Phase 1: will extend the Centennial Greenway 1.23 miles from Dielman Rd to Warson Park, which is immediately adjacent to the newly formed 39 North Ag-Tech district. This phase also includes improvements to the I-170 intersection. Phase 2 will extend the greenway 0.85 miles from Olive Blvd and I-170 to Dielman Rd.


Project Partners:

  • City of Olivette
  • Great Rivers Greenway
  • MoDot
  • Louis County
  • Missouri Department of Natural Resources


Project Status

  • 2018 – Great Rivers Greenway and the City of Olivette worked with community members to study the area and identify the preferred route for the future greenway
  • 2019 – Greenway phases were identified for further planning and design
  • 2020 – Olivette community members provided input to guide the greenway design from Warson Park to Dielman Road
  • 2020 – Great Rivers Greenway and the City of Olivette met with neighbors who live next to the future greenway to address any concerns in the greenway design such as including new fencing and landscaping
  • Summer 2021 – Greenway design will be completed from Warson Park to Dielman Road and along Olive Blvd. near I-170
  • Fall 2021 – Greenway construction will begin in Warson Park in coordination with the construction of the Olivette Community Center
  • 2022-2023 – Greenway construction will continue from Warson Park to Dielman Road and along Olive Blvd. near I-170 in coordination with Olive Crossing
  • 2023-2025 – Greenway will be designed and built from Dielman Road to Olive Blvd.


Through a separate project to reduce sewer overflows and backups in basements, the St. Louis Metropolitan Sewer District will be replacing undersized sanitary sewers along the River des Peres on the opposite side of the greenway from 2022-2024. More information is available at https://msdprojectclear.org/projects/new-construction/price-to-pioneer-sanitary-relief-12368/.

The project will be brought to life through several different funding sources. Beyond the local sales tax dollars from Great Rivers Greenway, $1 million in federal funds have been awarded for this greenway construction through the Transportation Alternatives Program. Both Great Rivers Greenway and the City of Olivette save money by working together to coordinate the greenway and community center construction as well as park improvements at the same time. The total greenway construction cost is $4.6 million.

Greenway designers are currently working to understand the potential impact of the greenway construction and provide benefits to the surrounding natural community. The greenway design will work to improve water quality, prevent erosion and stormwater pollution, prevent impacts to migratory birds and threatened and endangered species such as native bats, and integrate cultural heritage.

Several steps will be taken to protect trees and their underground root systems near the greenway during construction. During greenway construction, some trees may be removed if they are dead and at risk of dropping limbs, if the greenway cannot be routed around them, if the ground is too steep, or if there are other trees or structures nearby. Over 50 new native canopy and understory trees will be planted in Warson Park alone, along with native flowers and grasses. These plants will improve air and water quality and provide important food and shelter for native pollinators and wildlife.

This section of the Centennial Greenway traces the River des Peres and includes riparian habitat. “Riparian” means an area along a river or stream. This habitat provides important ecosystem services that benefit us all. The plant roots and soil along the streambank soak up floodwater instead of pushing it downstream. The plants in the riparian habitat filter water pollution and provide food and shelter for diverse native wildlife. During greenway construction along the river, invasive plants that harm other plants around them will be removed and native plants will be planted along the streambanks. These plants will help to keep soil in place, prevent erosion, and protect our wildlife and waterways.

Sharing stories of the places along the Centennial Greenway in Olivette helps greenway visitors to connect to the place and take pride in it. Throughout the regional network of greenways, stories are shared through art and signs along the greenways, guided and self-guided tours, digital content online, and outreach and community events. Do you have a story to share about the places along the greenway? If so, visit http://www.GreatRiversGreenway.org/ShareYourStory or call 314-932-4904 to share your story.

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