Ice rinks have always been an important part of the St. Louis community. From people gathering to support the Blues hockey team to figure skating at Forest Park, the citizens of St. Louis love the ice. Now, St. Louis residents will have to decide if they want an ice rink in Creve Couer Park.
Should the proposed ice rink be approved, 40 acres of land from the park will be cleared and replaced with a huge ice arena that will be used as the practice rink for the St. Louis Blues and as a recreational center. It would include three indoor ice rinks, one outdoor ice rink, St. Louis Blues offices, locker rooms, an outdoor workout center, and a hall of honor to celebrate the history of ice sports in the region. At first glance, this sounds amazing, but there are many problems involved.
With 320 acres of land and a lake in the middle, Creve Coeur Lake Memorial Park has been the hotspot for nature-lovers, hikers, boaters, runners, fishers, and partiers.
“It’s a fun place where everyone can explore and enjoy the weather and have fun. I usually walk the trails and take pictures of the scenery,” said sophomore Brooke Williams.
But this project could change that. With 40 acres of trees being cleared out for this, it takes away over 12 percent of the scenery. Plus with the huge new building and big parking lot, it will take away the park’s natural appeal and affect the wildlife.
“Think about all the animals whose lives are changed when something like that goes into play. Which then also changes our neighborhoods because the animals will come out into the neighborhoods where the houses are,” said ESOL teacher Tricia Frank. There will be a rise in animal deaths on the roads. People will have harder times protecting gardens and their pets from the wildlife.
“Thinking more regionally, I think it will be a good community asset for the St. Louis region,” said Creve Coeur Mayor Barry Glantz.
However, public funds and taxpayer money would be where the majority of money for the project would come from. The project is estimated to cost $66 million. That’s $66 million that could be used for more needed community programs and projects.
The Creve Coeur Ice Arena is popular for skating lessons, hockey practices and games, and a fun pastime. Despite this, it is small, with one ice rink and a mini concession stand. Currently, it is not big enough to accommodate all of the practices and people who want to use it for recreation. If the ice rink in Creve Coeur Lake Memorial Park opens, there is a real chance of people leaving the Creve Coeur Ice Arena and it could be shut down. “It’s competition for our ice rink,” said Creve Coeur Mayor Glantz.
Hockey player and sophomore Blake Boatright supports the ice rink being built. “I think they should let them build [the rink] because they knocked down the Chesterfield ice rink, and so now there’s three less rinks in St. Louis,” said Boatright.
Hockey is a very popular sport in St. Louis and is one of the things that helps the city and its counties thrive. However, there are other places they could put an ice rink instead of on a praised park that supports wildlife.
Boatright agrees that the park is not the best place for an ice rink. “I think they could’ve built it somewhere else. It doesn’t really need to be built in a park,” said Boatright.
Boatright then suggested the old Rams facility because there is no need for it anymore, while there is still a need for the park. Additionally, Frank recommended the Chesterfield mall since it is close to closing, and it will hurt the community around it when it does. Both of these places already have plumbing installed, whereas plumbing would have to be put in at Creve Coeur Lake Memorial Park.
While an ice arena would be beneficial for pure enjoyment and sports practice, Creve Coeur Lake Memorial Park is not the right place for it because of all of the risks involved. The ice arena should be moved to a place where it can be appreciated by all the people and the land.
“I would encourage people of all ages, kids, young adults, adults to stay informed,” said Creve Coeur Mayor Glantz.
To petition against the ice arena being built on Creve Coeur Memorial Lake Park click the link below:
by Cassie Schoene, staff writer