If you're a huge fan of St. Louis’ second-largest public park, you're not alone — even the professional planners are wowed by it. The Missouri chapter of the nation-wide American Planning Association (APA) has named Tower Grove Park one of its "Great Places" for 2017.
The 289-acre park, which hosts year-round recreational, educational and cultural public events, was recognized for its “exceptional character, quality, and planning,” and granted the organization’s “Great Public Space Award.”
“The 2017 Great Places in Missouri demonstrate the critical role of planning. These awardees are the quality places that bring people together, foster a sense of community, and build strong relationships between people and their City, while encouraging economic growth and support of local business.” Hilary Perkins, AICP, president of the APA’s Missouri chapter, said in a prepared release.
The Missouri APA’s Great Places Program, which started in 2014, previously honored two St. Louis hotspots: Citygarden was named its 2015 “Great Public Space,” and South Grand Boulevard its 2015 “Great Street.”
St. Louis locations have also received awards from the APA’s nationwide Great Places program; past honorees include the Central West End, Forest Park and Washington Avenue.
Now, as Tower Grove Park joins them, efforts are underway to preserve and improve the historic locale for future generations. Last week, Tower Grove Park hosted an open house in the Piper Palm House to kick off a master planning process that will result in a long-range plan for upgrades, restoration and conservation
“The Park has a tremendous success story that is part of the narrative of St. Louis over the past 30 years,” said Bob Sellers, President of the Park’s Board of Commissioners, in a written statement. “The time is right to ensure that we are investing in the future through long-range planning that will keep the Park vibrant and accessible for all visitors while preserving its most distinctive characteristics.”
A recognition ceremony for the 2017 honorees will take place on February 1 in the State Capitol Rotunda in Jefferson City. The APA also recognized the 4th Street Corridor in Maryville, and Downtown Kirkwood as its “Great Street” and “Great Neighborhood,” respectively.
“We see in these places great examples of what good planning can create,” said Perkins. “We congratulate the awardees on this well-deserved honor.”