Don Corrigan serves up his weekly opinion about who deserves a dagger for being a foe to the environment and who deserves a daisy for being a friend of the environment.
This week: Daisies To Arlene Sandler: This Woman Has A Better Idea for Creve Coeur Lake Memorial Park – Daggers to Legacy Ice Foundation’s Indoor Hockey Facility’s Bad Idea for Creve Coeur Lake Nature Area
Daisies: Daisies to Arlene Sanders, who wrote a great letter to the Post-Dispatch about the proposed ice rink facility for Creve Coeur Lake Memorial Park (I love letters, whether to the New York Times or the Webster-Kirkwood Times). Arlene noted that the land for the project was purchased with federal funds for outdoor recreation and conservation, not for a big-box, indoor ice event space with a huge parking lot in a flood plain. It is a travesty. And those of us who enjoy Creve Coeur are already hurting over the past introduction of the Page Avenue Extension, and a Major Bridge, and Highway 141 — and now an Ice Center and perhaps a strip mall down the road! For heaven’s sake — ENOUGH!
But here is what I really like about Arlene’s letter. She asked: “Has anyone taken a look at using one of the several dead or dying shopping malls in St. Louis County for this facility? Parking spaces and other infrastructure are already in place and no wetlands mitigation would be necessary.”
EXACTLY! The developers of the retail and entertainment center to replace Crestwood Mall would probably love to have this facility as a part of their development. And what about the abandoned Jamestown Mall or Northwest Plaza or the recently bankrupted Chesterfield Mall. Can we please use some abandoned mall space? Can we please start thinking creatively about the dead malls coming down the pipeline? Can we please stop building outlet malls that are even more crass and poorly-constructed (and in flood plains) sprawl than the malls that are closed or closing?
Daggers: Daggers to the Legacy Ice Foundation Tub Thumpers who try to tell us that Creve Coeur Lake and the beautiful park can coexist with yet another “fantastic” development. They are proposing to ruin this wonderful space with an extensive 40-acre development of massive buildings with 1,400 parking spaces, with all the associated crowded automobile entrances, with more traffic flow, with imperious roofs creating runoff, with pavement, with vegetation displacement, with carbon dioxide emissions, and with rolling noises and nightly light pollution.
No matter what Legacy Ice Foundation wants us to believe, it is clear that walkers, runners, cyclists, picnickers, birdwatchers, fishermen, paddling enthusiasts and the region’s most active rowing and sailing associations do not want this development. Save St. Louis’s most valuable and uniquely outdoor recreation oasis that is used by more than one-million active users annually. Save one of the few remaining outdoor recreation spaces in the St. Louis area from yet more encroachment. Save the wetlands. Save the land that is used by migratory birds and migrating pollinators. Please, go to the mall — the empty crumbling mall spaces in the St. Louis region — and locate this sports facility where it might actually do some good!
Thanks Don for continuing to show wise and well-spoken leadership in the environmental arena!
St. Louis Audubon and our Creve Coeur Park Coalition partners have no issue with the Blues, hockey or the people that play it, but this indoor hockey facility does not need to be at a park. Actually, there is nothing about this giant 250,000 square foot, 50 foot tall building that requires proximity to park space.
Since the land in question was bought with federal funds and is therefore to be reserved for OUTDOOR recreation, the developers have included an outdoor rink in their complex and an outdoor recreation field. The former makes absolutely no sense in St. Louis and the latter has no plan for use. The developers even suggest concerts could be held in one or both of these spaces–clearly a key function for an ICE CENTER.
There is only one obvious reason this facility is intended for this space–the developers do not have to pay for the land. If I’m wrong, and the Legacy Ice Foundation is convinced their facility MUST be built at this particular location, then let them pay market rate for the 40 acres and make that payment to the St. Louis County Parks Foundation, earmarked as an endowment to fund natural areas management at Creve Coeur Park. The Blues franchise is worth some $300 million; surely the Ice Foundation can pay for the land.
St. Louis Audubon Society
Join the Open Space Council and protest a proposal to build a massive ice complex in Creve Coeur Lake Park on:
Tuesday, August 15th between 5-7pm at the
County Government Building
41 South Central Avenue in Clayton, MO 63105
Consuming 40 acres of open space and towering 65 feet above the lake, this facility would be equivalent to 3 Walmarts in volume with over 1,000 paved parking spaces. It will dramatically alter the look and feel of the park, forever.
The National Park Service is reviewing this controversial proposal.
No final decision has been made, however massive changes are already taking place without pacific approvals.