Saturday October 8 was a spectacular day to celebrate the transformation of a vacant lot in Wellston into the new 1-acre Trojan Park! Named after the mascot of Wellston’s former Eskridge High School, the park was designed by and for Wellston residents as a space for the community to gather and play. That’s exactly what happened as hundreds of people came together on a beautiful fall day to cut the ribbon and explore the park’s three playgrounds, family pavilion, butterfly garden, picnic tables, benches and full-size basketball court. The grand opening festivities included free pizza from the Pi Food truck, and music and dance performances. Former NBA player Larry Hughes was also on hand to lead a Jr. NBA clinic on the sport court.
Trojan Park lies within the larger St. Vincent Greenway—a seven-mile corridor that will stretch from the North Hanley MetroLink Station, near the University of Missouri-St. Louis campus, all the way to Forest Park. The new park is an important component of the greenway’s master plan, serving as one of several community gathering spaces that also connect people to the greenway.
Trojan Park was developed as part of the National Recreation and Park Association’s (NRPA) 2016 Parks Build Community Initiative, which aims to demonstrate the transformative value of parks and recreation on communities across the country. Each year, NRPA builds a new park or revitalizes an existing park in partnership with recreational equipment manufacturers and community organizations within the region hosting its annual conference. Trojan Park represents the sixth Parks Build Community project aligned with the NRPA Annual Conference.
The park was built with the support of many partners and sponsors. Great Rivers Greenway collaborated with nonprofit partner Beyond Housing to engage the community, gathering critical input to form the park’s design.
The Municipal Park Grant Commission of St. Louis County provided a $315,000 grant to assist with site preparation and construction. Great Rivers Greenway secured the property, invested in the design and site preparation and has served as project manager. NRPA worked with playground equipment and park amenity manufacturers from across the country to receive donated site furnishings such as playground and fitness equipment, bike racks, lighting, drinking fountains and much more.
Great Rivers Greenway has also worked closely with the City of Wellston and the St. Louis County Parks Department to develop a detailed maintenance plan for Trojan Park they will be implementing together.
As project partners, sponsors and community members gathered to celebrate the grand opening of the new park, many parks and recreation professionals from across the nation were also in attendance as the 2016 NRPA Conference wrapped up in St. Louis. The festivities continued into the evening hours as current and former Wellston residents gathered in their new park for the annual Wellston homecoming celebration for a barbecue, fellowship, games, music, and dance performances.
For more information about the St. Vincent Greenway, click here.