We want dog park, safer trails, wildflowers, basketball goals and more
By Steve Bowman
Editor, The Brentwood Spirit
Brentwood needs its own dog park. Safer pedestrian trails. More wildflowers, more color.
Those are a few of the suggestions made by residents at a public meeting on April 10 conducted by the firm the city has hired to create a parks system master plan. Two urban designers from Planning Design Studio spent two hours listening to about 25 residents’ ideas for improving Brentwood’s six parks and two miles of trails.
The firm, PDS, began the project with an initial assessment of the parks system last year and will present the final master plan to the Brentwood Board of Aldermen in October. The firm is conducting data collection and analysis through mid-July, when it will begin drafting a master plan. A second meeting seeking community input will be held June 19.
PDS holds regular meetings with a “working committee” appointed by the board of aldermen. The firm will meet with the committee this week.
“Hopefully we’ll be able to look at a rough draft of the data collection chapter of the master plan,” said Brentwood Recreation Superintendent Eric Gruenenfelder, a member of the working committee.
Following are some of the needs expressed by residents at the April 10 meeting.
Safety. “Safety was a big theme of the night,” Gruenenfelder said. “People want to make sure they can get to the parks safely, with crosswalks, dusk-to-dawn path lighting, things like that.”
Dog park. “The dog park has gotten a lot of traction,” Gruenenfelder said. A possible location, which has been proposed by Mayor Pat Kelly, is just north of Norm West Park, where the demolished Executive Walk Apartments once stood.
Landscaping. ”There’s a lot of talk about Missouri native landscaping,” said Gruenenfelder. “Get rid of invasive plants like bush honeysuckle and replace it with wildflowers that will be low maintenance but look beautiful. Bring some color into the park.”
Maintenance. “We heard a lot of stuff about park maintenance,” said Gruenenfelder. “That includes stuff like updating restrooms.”
Basketball goals. Resident James Vandervoort wrote a request for the city to add basketball goals. “There’s only one public outdoor venue that I’m aware of in Brentwood for playing basketball, and that’s on the blacktop at McGrath school,” he wrote in a letter made available at the meeting. “The two baskets themselves are in poor condition …”
Planning Design Studio is considering many other ideas as well. Needs identified in the initial assessment included a skate park, a splash pad, outdoor fitness equipment and improved rest rooms.
Connection to GRG
Gruenenfelder expects the master plan to contain a proposal for connecting either Norm West Park or Brentwood Park with a Great Rivers Greenway trail south of Brentwood.
“It’d most likely be Norm West Park, a connection to Rogers Parkway,” he said.
Rogers Parkway runs next to Mary Avenue and ends at Manchester Road. To connect it to Norm West Park would require crossing four-lane Manchester.
A resident at the meeting asked Franke how a trail might intersect with Manchester.
“That’s what we’re trying to figure out,” said Franke. “Somehow we need to get across Manchester. GRG might come to the table with some design help to figure it out. There’s a bridge option and who knows what else? In the master plan we’re going to make a recommendation that that connection be made and that it’s probably a high-priority connection.”
Said Gruenenfelder, “The possibility of connecting to the GRG trail system is something we’re very excited about, and it’s something everyone wants Andy [Franke] and the city to focus on and make happen.”
The data collection phase ends this month. Plan analysis will take place April through July, with a second public meeting on June 19 and the plan analysis report due July 18. A draft master plan is due on Aug. 29, a final plan on Sept. 29 and a final public presentation in early October.