At 9 a.m. on Sept. 27, the county’s parks and recreation department will officially open the gates to The Park at New Melle Lakes. The 410-acre park, located at 400 Foristell Road, now features 3.7 miles of paved trails, a 26-acre lake, a disc golf course and picnic areas. Activities planned from 9 a.m.-noon include catch-release fishing at the 26-acre lake, disc-golf throwing on the park’s 18-acre course, a family-friendly scavenger hunt, and refreshments and giveaways. One park guest will take home a gift certificate for a complimentary night’s stay in a camping cabin at the park.
The county purchased the property in 2016. The golf course has been closed since 2011 and had a banquet center the large lake and four one-acre ponds. County officials said they bought the property for $15,000 an acre or about $2.29 million.
The purchase brings the total of county-owned land in the New Melle area to 395 acres. The former golf course abuts several county-owned tracts, including the 67-acre Sundust Park Reserve donated by David and Mary Ann Wolk, and 175-acres of park property purchased between Foristell Road and Hwy. Z.
Some land in the area is being held in reserve by the St. Charles County Parks and Recreation Department with specific plans and a timeline for development still under review.
Future development plans for the New Melle Park include a launch area for non-motorized boats on the 26-acre lake, a multi-acre dog park, playground, small and large picnic shelters, camping, restrooms and the renovation of a home on the property for use as a rental facility.
Meanwhile, the county also has announced opening ceremonies including a ribbon cutting set for 1:15 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 20 at its 120-acre Veterans Memorial Park. Bordered by Pitman Hill and Kisker roads, the park is on the former Sammelmann Farm and Homestead.
The county bought the park property for $6 million in 2014 and planned to spend a little over $9 million to intensively develop about 90 acres with a destination playground for children of all abilities, a walking and bike trail system, dog park, playground and fishing lakes. A memorial garden with flags to honor the five branches of the Armed Forces along a path ending at a plaza with an American flag also is planned.
A use tax approved by county voters in 1997 and dedicated for property acquisition, operations and park development paid for the acquisition and development of the park properties. The county currently operates 12 parks and has more than 3,000 acres of parkland.