Great Rivers Greenway is inviting area residents to a community open house on Tuesday, April 25th, to learn the latest details about the plans to improve and expand the Gravois Greenway (Grant’s Trail) to connect with the River Des Peres Greenway. The first phase of the project — a partnership with St. Louis County Parks, private donors and Orlando’s Event Centers — will begin later this year with a new trailhead and improvements at the current southern end of the Gravois Greenway. The second phase of construction to complete the connection — a partnership with St. Louis County Parks, the City of St. Louis, Missouri Department of Transportation and Republic Recycling Services — is planned for 2018.

The open house will be held at Orlando’s (4300 Hoffmeister Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63125) from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. People are invited to stop by anytime during that timeframe to ask questions, review maps and learn more about the plans for the expanded greenway. There will be a brief presentation at 6 p.m. Great Rivers Greenway staff and partners will also seek feedback on how people plan to use the new greenway and ask for input on what kinds of amenities they would like along the way such as benches or shade structures.

“This connection is the number one most requested project, and people want to see it come to life,” said Great Rivers Greenway Chief Executive Officer, Susan Trautman. “When it is complete, hundreds of thousands of people who live, work and go to school in these densely populated parts of St. Louis County and St. Louis City will be able to safely walk or ride a bike to get where they need to go. The list of parks, schools, neighborhoods, business districts and transit hubs that will be linked together by greenways is remarkable — and they will open up a whole new way for people to get there.”

The first phase of the project includes restrooms, benches, new landscaping, a climbing play structure and the initial extension of the Gravois Greenway’s current endpoint near Orlando’s Event and Conference Center. The second phase will extend the existing 8 miles of Gravois Greenway an additional 2 miles to connect with the River des Peres Greenway.

When the full extension is complete, there will be three greenways linked together — Gravois, River des Peres and Mississippi — with 21 continuous miles to explore and enjoy. The route will make it possible for people to walk, run or ride a bike between Kirkwood, River des Peres Park, the Shrewsbury MetroLink Station, Jefferson Barracks Park and everything else in between without ever leaving a greenway.

“The Gravois Greenway is an incredible asset for our region, and this expansion will promote connectivity,” said St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger. “We are expanding a wonderful space to enjoy fresh air and exercise while connecting to more parks and greenspace. When it’s done, you will be able to go all the way from Officer Blake C. Snyder Memorial Park to Jefferson Barracks Park. It will also take you to Carondelet Park, Willmore Park and Francis R. Slay Park in the City of St. Louis.”