The Great Rivers Greenway a few days ago announced an April 14 celebration for the new Chain of Rocks Park at the west end of the Old Chain of Rocks Bridge in St. Louis.
The free event from 2 to 4 p.m. will include music, food, fun and community activities. The park is at 10820 Riverview Drive in St. Louis.
The Chain of Rocks Park will include these improvements:
- Gated entrance
- Staff on site during peak hours
- A fence around the site
- Lighting in the parking lot
- Video surveillance cameras
- Emergency phone
- Restoration of wetlands and woodlands that provide food and shelter for native wildlife on site, including migratory birds
- New 1.5-acre reconstructed prairie
- Unpaved footpath through native habitats in prairie
- Permeable parking lot pavement and rain gardens to reduce stormwater runoff
- Signs around the site explaining native habitats and nature-based stormwater management
Amenities for daily use and special events
- Permeable parking lot and overflow grass lot
- Picnic pavilion for gatherings
- Restrooms for daily use
- Local artwork that reflects the Mississippi Flyway migratory route and Chain of Rocks river geology
- Drinking fountain
- Direct walking and biking access to historic bridge with river overlook
- Event lawn and food truck area with water and electricity for community events
In 2021, the project was given a $990,000 grant from the National Park Service through the Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership program.
The 5,300-foot-long Old Chain of Rocks Bridge, built in 1929, contains a 22-degree bend in the middle and served as Route 66 for many years.
The nearby New Chain of Rocks Bridge that carries Interstate 270 opened in 1966, and the older bridge closed four years later.
The bridge was used in a scene of 1983’s “Escape from New York” movie. It appeared the span would be demolished, but the costs of doing so were too prohibitive.
In 1998, Trailnet leased the bridge and spent $4.5 million to shore it up for cycling and pedestrian use.
(Artist’s rendering of the Old Chain of Rocks Bridge improvements via Great Rivers Greenway)