ST. LOUIS — St. Louis’ sprawling Forest Park is getting a $5.8-million makeover.

The roughly 1,300-acre park that’s some 500 acres bigger than New York City’s Central Park is renovating its Central Fields, a barren 30 acres that has served as home to a balloon race and the yearly LouFest festival, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (http://bit.ly/2r2eJ3S ) reported.

The land will be evened, and irrigation and drainage will be added along with new visitor facilities and trails linking the area to other park attractions. The new-look fields will include four soccer pitches, three rugby fields, new restrooms and a concession stand.

“It’s a blank canvas,” said Lesley Hoffarth, president and executive director of Forest Park Forever, the nonprofit conservancy that partners with the city to manage the park. “It’s just grass that hasn’t gotten that extra care like other parts of the park.”

Greg Hayes, the city’s parks, recreation and forestry chief, said he hopes the project will be completed by September of next year.

The project is largely funded by private donations to Forest Park Forever, with the city also providing an unspecified amount of funds.

The upgrade is part of the park’s master plan drafted 22 years ago.

The park — home to the St. Louis Zoo, art and history museums, science center and the Muny Opera — attracts roughly 12 million visitors each year, according to the city’s website.


Information from: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, http://www.stltoday.com

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