Centennial Greenway: Olive to Warson Park

Olivette

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:


Project Status

ABOUT THIS PLACE

Did you know that this section of the Centennial Greenway in Warson Park will connect to regionally significant places such as the headwaters of the River des Peres and the former Saints Skating Rink? What stories do you know about this place? Share them at www.GreatRiversGreenway.org/ShareYourStory or by calling 314-932-4904.

Over the last century, the River des Peres has been rerouted, straightened, deepened, and lined with concrete. These changes prevent local flooding by pushing the water downstream.Many greenways trace the waterways that from the foundation of the communities in our region – this section of the Centennial Greenway traces the River des Peres. This river formed during the Ice Age when a wall of rock and ice blocked the Mississippi River, forcing the water to carve out a new path which became the River des Peres. In the 1600s, the Kaskaskia and Tamaroa people settled along the River des Peres. A few years later, Jesuit priests built a mission at the mouth of the River des Peres. The mission existed for only three years, but the name remains today. The River des Peres name is French for “river of the fathers” who were the priests.

These places hold the stories of the people and events that shape the culture of our region. Olivette Twin Rinks opened in Warson Park in 1974 as an ice skating rink for youth and amateur hockey leagues. The ice skating rink transitioned to Saints Roller Skating Rink which operated until 2010. Saints was a gathering place for people from across the region with bingo nights, teen lock-ins and parties, and of course, roller skating with family and friends. Native St. Louis rapper Nelly even recorded here!

 

PROJECT TIMELINE

  • 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 completed from Warson Park to Dielman Road and along Olive Blvd. near I-170
  • Fall 2021 – Greenway construction began 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.

PROJECT DETAILS

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.


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