THE MISSION OF THE MUNICIPAL PARK GRANT COMMISSION IS TO PROVIDE GRANTS TO IMPROVE, RESTORE, AND EXPAND LOCAL PARKS AND RECREATION PROGRAMS IN MUNICIPALITIES IN ST. LOUIS COUNTY.
The success of the Municipal Park Grant Commission lies in its clarity of purpose. This grant program was created in response to citizen input, is funded by taxpayer money and responds directly to municipalities’ needs. That means the distance between taxpayers’ dollars and their enjoyment of park improvements is short and direct. The grant commission evolved from the Clean Water, Safe Parks and Community Trails Initiative of St. Louis, a civic organization chaired by former U.S. Senator John Danforth. This regional project was started in the late 1990s to find creative and lasting ways to commemorate the 100-year anniversary of the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair. Through a series of public forums, St. Louis identified parks, trail systems and open space as key concerns of area citizens. In response, voters approved an initial one-tenth cent sales tax, authorized by the legislature, to fund regional and local parks initiatives. A second 3/16 cent tax provided additional funds.
Today, the Great Rivers Greenway, previously known as the Metropolitan Park and Recreation District, receives 50 percent of the funds generated for regional projects. Another 30 percent of the revenues are allocated to St. Louis County for its Parks and Recreation Department and neighborhood parks in unincorporated St. Louis County. The Municipal Park Grant Commission is the steward of the remaining 20 percent of the tax, generating about $6 million annually (see Financial History link) for the parks of the 90 municipalities throughout incorporated St. Louis County. Since its formation, the Municipal Park Grant Commission has focused its efforts on delivering on the promise made to voters in 2000: to use taxpayers’ funds to help enhance parks as demand for leisure increases, the pressure from development grows and the needs to protect property values intensifies.
A SIMPLE PROMISE FOR MUNICIPAL PARKS
In November of 2000 and again in April of 2013, citizens all across St Louis County approved a new sales tax to help improve, restore and expand their municipal parks and recreation programs. As a result of their votes, the municipal park grant commission of St Louis County was formed and charged with keeping the promise made to taxpayers:
To put their money to work where it counts – in the hearts of their communities.
It’s a promise kept to the children on the playground, the teenagers playing ball, the senior citizens on the walking path and the families picnicking. It’s a promise kept every day in parks throughout St Louis County