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Tower Grove Park restoring buried stream from the early 1900s

The project will accentuate historic bridges and honor the Osage Nation heritage

ST. LOUIS — If you've visited Tower Grove Park, then you've seen the historic stone bridges. Many of them don't go over anything, but that is about to change.

The east end of the park will undergo a major restoration project this year. The headwaters will begin at the grassy field near Arsenal Street. Natural grasses, a playscape and an education area will surround the unearthed stream.

In the early 1900s, the natural stream was buried, likely for sanitation reasons. The historic bridges were left in place, with no running water underneath. The yearlong project will restore the stream, and the bridges will actually serve a purpose again.

Tower Grove Park Executive Director Bill Reininger told 5 On Your Side the restoration will also pay tribute to Missouri's native people. "We've been able to engage the Osage Nation from the very beginning of the process," Reininger said, "and through the engagement, we've been able to add elements into the design that are really going to enable them to share elements of their culture with folks who enjoy the park."

The natural waterway will align with the park's historic Victorian theme. "There's a lot of things that went into consideration on this design in order to meet those standards," Reininger explains, "as well as our National Historic Landmark standards."

Donors have fully funded the $2.5 million project, which should be done next year.

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