St. Charles-area residents and students now have safe and convenient access to parks, recreation and a nearby college thanks to a new 1.5-mile trail in Great Rivers Greenway’s trail system. The Dardenne Greenway Trail at St. Charles Community College in Cottleville will officially open on Tuesday, May 6, and will link together two existing sections of the Dardenne Greenway in Cottleville and St. Peters, as well as multiple existing trails in nearby parks—creating nearly five miles of continuous connectivity.

In celebration of the trail opening, Great Rivers Greenway is hosting an event at St. Charles Community College at 2 p.m. on May 6 at the section of the trail that crosses the southeast corner of the campus near the intersection of Mid Rivers Mall Drive and Cottleville Parkway. Area residents, students, faculty and staff are invited to come out and experience the new trail for the first time. The event will include food trucks and entertainment, and there will also be a brief program with remarks from Great Rivers Greenway, project partners, and local and regional elected officials.

The new trail will provide residents in St. Peters and Cottleville with direct access to St. Charles Community College, six parks, numerous neighborhoods and other community amenities.
It is a pivotal connection that links the Cottleville Trail on the Dardenne Greenway within Legacy Park with the segment of the Dardenne Greenway that runs from Woodlands Sports Park to St. Peters Golf Course to the north.

“We are grateful to St. Charles Community College and the cities of St. Peters and Cottleville for helping us make this new segment of the Dardenne Greenway a reality,” said Susan Trautman, executive director of the Great Rivers Greenway District. “All of our partners recognized that we were building more than just 1.5 miles of trail in a greenway. By working together, we have built a powerful connector that seamlessly links an entire network of existing trails, parks and green spaces. The students, faculty, staff and community as a whole will reap the benefits of the Dardenne Greenway for decades to come.”

Shelter, Fishing Dock and More
The new trail includes a combination of many native plants, creating opportunities for nature study and enjoyment by trail users. A shelter and fishing dock have been erected at the east end of Harmony Lake in Legacy Park, located along the south portion of the trail, and “botanical vignettes” can be found along the trail on the St. Charles Community College campus.

“The addition of the Dardenne Greenway trail to the St. Charles Community College campus only enhances its beauty and provides yet another opportunity for the community and our faculty, staff and students to enjoy our well-kept grounds,” said Ron Chesbrough, Ph.D., of St. Charles Community College. “The Dardenne Greenway is a perfect example of how community partnerships result in an improved quality of life for our residents.”

The new section of trail is part of the proposed 26-mile Dardenne Greenway, which, once completed, will run along the Dardenne Creek from west of I-64 and north through Cottleville, Dardenne Prairie, O’Fallon and St. Peters to near the Mississippi River. Two studies are underway to facilitate this future expansion. The first is an alignment study for the planned section of the Dardenne Greenway that would connect O’Fallon Sports Park and Cottleville Legacy Park. A second study aims to establish the general scope and design of the proposed expansion from Mexico Road to St. Peter’s Golf Course Club House and Lakeside 370 Park North of I-70. The Dardenne Greenway is a key part of Great Rivers Greenway’s planned River Ring, a 600-mile interconnected web of greenways, parks and trails.

Image: Courtesy of Great Rivers Greenway