Columbia Park Plan Earns “Leafie”

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The City of Columbia & SWT Design were honored last evening by the HeartLands Conservancy with a Green Leaf Award for innovative park planning through the Admiral Trost Subdivision Park Master Plan.

The Admiral Trost Development Park, a 33-acre parcel in virtually the center of the Admiral Parkway Redevelopment Area, was donated to the City in 2007 for development of a municipal park; the parcel appeared to hold little commercial value due to its location almost entirely within a flood plain. The master planning process for this property, undertaken with the help of SWT Design of St. Louis, represented the City’s first large-scale engagement of a professional landscape architecture firm to help develop what needed to be an innovative plan. When adopted in 2012, the park master plan represented the first step in making recreational use a reality.

Following adoption of the master plan, the City of Columbia has worked to implement the plan. Currently, the City has completed an overall grading plan and construction level plans for an expanded wetland and interpretive area, both funded through a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) district. The St. Louis Steamers, a select soccer league, has approached the City to negotiate construction of $1.4 million in new capital improvements. The City has begun initial discussions with Unlimited Play in preparation for fundraising for a Destination Playground. In 2014, the City formed a parks & recreation foundation to manage private donations like these and others.

The HeartLands Conservancy, an organization which provides leadership and solutions to sustain and enrich the diverse environmental resources of Southwestern Illinois, each year bestows the Green Leaf Achievement Awards (affectionately known as the “Leafies”) to celebrate individuals, groups, and businesses making achievements in environmental awareness. Award winners are making a local impact in conserving land, building greener communities, and engaging people and individuals with nature. After a thorough entry review process, Green Leaf Awards will be given to worthy recipients who are making a difference in Southwestern Illinois.