MARYLAND HEIGHTS, MO. - A new non-profit has big plans to build an indoor ice rink within a popular park, but an effort to block those plans is quickly growing.
As of Tuesday evening, there were more than 6,300 signatures on a change.org petition to keep Creve Coeur Lake Memorial Park the way it is.
The St. Louis Legacy Ice Foundation plans to build the Ice Center on 40 acres of park grounds by the end of 2018. Construction would last up to 14 months.
"I don't think it would be as comfortable to work out here if there's that many more people and an ice rink here," said Cole Pourchot, who visited the park Tuesday.
Legacy Ice Foundation chairman Patrick Quinn is aware of the petition. He says the Ice Center would be located near HWY 141 on land that hasn't been used in years.
"It's in an area that today houses a maintenance shed," Quinn said. "It was a turned-over corn and soybean field."
He says it wouldn't interrupt park and lake activity.
"This is the right project and a perfect location for it," he said. "We're really at thick season, you know, late October, November, December, January, February. There aren't a lot of people out sailing in the lake here."
The general public would use the rink around 70 percent of the time. It would also be available for university teams and the St. Louis Blues.
"The St. Louis Blues will be using about three percent of the ice time," Quinn said.
The petition points out that residents didn't get an opportunity to vote on the project.
"We pay our taxes and we should always have a say in everything that goes on in this city," park-goer Travis Nelson said.
No tax dollars would be used to fund the $60 million project. St. Louis County would own the building, but the Legacy Ice Foundation would be accountable for paying for it. St. Louis County Council approved the project last fall and there was a public hearing in January. Quinn says the public currently has an opportunity to comment on the environmental profile of the project.
The Missouri Department of Natural Resources and the Federal Parks Department would need to support the project in order for it to proceed.
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