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City acquires park property, surveys residents

Weldon Spring residents are telling their leaders that they are more interested in walking paths and bike trails than athletic fields for playing baseball, soccer or football for five acres of recently acquired park property.

That information is according to the results of 121 responses to a city parks and recreation survey that was included in the city’s June 15 newsletter and sent to every household and business in the city, and filled out at a city Fourth of July event.

“I think residents are interested in passive kinds of recreation in the park,” said City Administrator Michael Padella. The city of 5,500 residents is located in the southeastern portion of the county, south of Hwy. 94.

That survey dovetails with what the public earlier had told St. Charles County officials about developing 120 acres of new park property (the former Sammelmann Farm and Homestead) inside the Weldon Spring city limits.  After the county acquired that property, its parks and recreation department conducted its own survey, which had 3,837 respondents, the majority of whom were interested in seeking natural recreation amenities such as walking trails, fishing ponds, a picnic shelter and nature and conservation areas.

Padella said the city’s survey was a first step in developing options for utilizing the park property, which was purchased in June for $250,000. The property is adjacent to the city’s present 13-acre park near Independence Road and city hall. Padella said the city hopes to begin developing it this year.

Half the survey respondents were female and between the ages of 45 and 65. The top three activities or amenities that survey respondents favored were, in order, extending walking and bicycle paths, a farmers’ market and extra picnic shelters. Extending walking and bicycle trails was favored by nearly 80 percent of respondents.

Other amenities mentioned by respondents, in order, include an amphitheater, a second playground area, a workout station, an indoor event venue, lake expansion, sporting fields and facilities, and the construction of a second log cabin.

Padella said residents have not favored developed athletic fields with lights; however, the existing park has some undeveloped fields that are used for practice.

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