Prop-A Guided by Parks Master Plan

Artist rendition of new community center entrance

As April approaches, we are all facing a significant decision with Proposition A. To help with that, I will be posting a short series of articles about this topic to provide as much information as possible.

Starting With A Plan…

To understanding Prop-A we need to begin with a review of the Crestwood Parks Master Plan. This effort wasn't just about planning but was mostly about listening to Crestwood residents and working to address the needs of our community.

The Parks Master Plan process involved extensive community outreach, including town halls, a robust direct-mail and online survey, and in-depth analysis by planners. The result? A clear list of priorities for our parks providing a roadmap for improvements in the next decade and beyond.

Evaluating The Community Center

The Master Plan analysis clearly demonstrated that the existing community center falls short in many ways. The original layout was designed back in the 1970’s with the concept of a teen hang-out space and limited indoor facilities. Those spaces have since been repurposed, but the cumbersome layout limits the programs that can be offered.

Master Plan Ranking

Crestwood staff, alongside engineers and architects, explored renovation possibilities but concluded that it wouldn't meet resident needs or expectations.

“We evaluated renovating and expanding the current building, but it would cost nearly as much as new construction and would impact large natural areas of the park. In addition, renovation would fall short of what the residents were requesting in the Master Plan. Together we determined new construction on the ballfield is the best option. New construction ensures the existing community center can remain open during construction, providing continuity of services and staffing” - Eilien Ramirez, Director of Parks and Recreation.

Pivoting to a Better Plan

As it became clear that renovating the existing center no longer was a good option, city staff pivoted to a better option – Building New and Keeping What Works.

Site Context - Whitecliff Park
Closer View (current ballfield location)

The new community center will align specifically to community's needs with the features most requested - an elevated indoor walking track, improved and expanded fitness areas, larger and more attractive meeting spaces, improved program spaces for classes and events, and a multi-sport court that is double the size of our existing one. All these features were at the top of the list for residents and will be utilized well.

Most community centers in the St. Louis area have a payback rate of 80-100%. In other words, the revenues from programs and events cover 80-100% of the costs to run the facility. Despite hard work and efforts by Crestwood staff, our payback rate is around 55% representing an annual “loss” of $366K. Financial forecasts show that this new facility can run at standard recovery rates representing operational savings of $184K per year.

Transforming the Existing Center

Phase 2 will consist of transforming the existing building into a space for indoor and outdoor pickleball, family games, and social gatherings. It will retain functional elements like the gym, restrooms, and locker rooms, while removing the outdated sections.

Rendering - New Outdoor Courts at Existing Center

The Rest of the Story

Your feedback was instrumental in shaping the Master Plan, highlighting key projects like a new community center and upgrades to Whitecliff and Crestwood Parks. More about that next time.

In upcoming posts, I will cover every aspect of Proposition A. I’ll include more details on plans for the new and existing community center buildings, the other planned park improvements, details on the ballot and property tax changes. You can read Part 2 (Virtual Tour of the New Community Center) HERE.

Learn More

We have already had one Town Hall / Open House and resident response was excellent. Join us for more focused discussions on Prop-A at the Community Center in Whitecliff Park for additional open house events:

  • Tuesday, March 19, 2024, from 6:00-8:00 P.M.
  • Wednesday, March 27, 2024, from 6:00-8:00 P.M.
  • Saturday, March 30, 2024, from 10:00 A.M. - Noon

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