Americans have had an ongoing love affair with parks and open park land for more than a hundred years. While Teddy Roosevelt is credited with institutionalizing our love of parks, with the establishment of the National Park Service, his ideas about preserving open spaces for fun and learning and adventure probably were a direct response to the growth of cities. Cities are essential to civilization, but we yearn for open spaces and to be outdoors and away from the stresses of modern city life.
In other words, we love our parks. The City of Saint Louis understood this when they decided in 1866 to set aside almost 1400 acres of land for the urban oasis that became Forest Park. Home to the Saint Louis Art Museum, Saint Louis Zoo, the Municipal Opera, the History Museum, two golf courses, Steinberg Ice Rink, and the Saint Louis Science Center, Forest Park truly is the Heart of the City of Saint Louis.
When the first beautiful, cloudless, 70-degree day happens in the middle of March, after a tough, cold winter, what’s the first thing you want to do? Most Saint Louisans head outdoors, many of them to parks. If you live in Kirkwood, you have lots of choices. In fact, up until this week, you have had a choice of 13 parks to visit (including the historic Quinette Cemetery), but beginning this Sunday, October 14, there will be a 14th, when Avery Park opens at the corner of Avery Court and Avery Drive, just north of Manchester and to the west of Kirkwood Road.
Kirkwood’s newest park, two years in the planning and building stage, opens this Sunday with a Grand Opening ceremony at 2:00 p.m. Avery Park will be home to two playground areas, a “mister” fountain for those hot days of summer, a pavilion for picnicking, a basketball court, and some perimeter walkways, as well as lots of green areas to just sit around and enjoy. The brief opening ceremony will finish up with some light refreshments (free and open to the public), and then the park will be officially open for business. Please join us!
There currently are 58 national parks across this country and who knows how many city and municipal parks as well. Parks inspire us, educate us, soothe us, and give us room to breathe. Please come visit the newest Kirkwood park, and just…breathe…