The National Park Service has asked a Missouri agency to instruct business developers to stop further work on the planned St. Louis Ice Center.
In an August 25 letter to the Missouri Department of Natural Services, an official from the Service wrote “based on our current understanding of the building and its uses, we do not believe the Ice Center qualifies as a public facility.”
The roughly 60-million-dollar ice facility is slated to be built in Creve Coeur Lake Memorial Park and would have 4 rinks, with three interior and one exterior. The proposed project would also provide practice space for the St. Louis Blues.
However, that last fact is a concern for the NPS, writing that “the proposed use of the center by professional and semi-professional sports teams infringes on the public’s recreational use of the site and further prevents this facility from garnering our approval.”
Creve Coeur Lake Park is a conservation and protected park that has previously received federal grants to help build it. Thus, any construction on it must meet federal rules and approval.
Currently, the application for that approval is being reviewed by the Missouri DNR and has yet to be passed on to the federal NPS.
The Center recently became controversial.
Protests began after the Centers developers started bulldozing the site, doing something known as “grading” the land. The DNR approved this work under the auspices of “storm water management”, something that would be part of the normal maintenance of the park.
However, critics point out that approximately 100 trees were torn out during the grading, despite that trees assist in storm water management.
In addition, the city permit for the grading project shows the work being done for “construction of an ice center”.
In their letters to the state, even the Center’s developers admitted the grading would benefit the proposed Ice Center, when and if it was built.
Tuesday night, the St. Louis County Council voted to halt any work in the location until it could investigate the situation.
However, the developers of the Center maintain that they believe the rinks will be a benefit to the public and will ultimately comply with all federal standards.