Twelve years of planning will finally soon come to fruition when the city of Chesterfield opens a 180-acre wetlands "nature preserve" on the north side of the Monarch Levee Trail.
The land was previously owned by the Monarch Levee District and is located near Boone's Crossing in a parcel of land north of the main levee and south of the agriculture levee. At a meeting Oct. 15, the Chesterfield City Council accepted the donation of the wetlands from the levee district.
Chesterfield Planning and Public Works Director Mike Geisel said the plan is to incorporate the property into the city's parks program.
"There is a nice big lake and a couple of boardwalks, lots of deer," he said. "It will be a nature preserve more than anything else. The other parks have active uses, but this is a passive use. You get to see a segment of nature that is an undisturbed area really."
He also noted that the lake will make a great fishing spot and will be "nice, quiet and tranquil."
The parcel is located near the future site of the Taubman Prestige Outlet Malls and was donated by the levee after the outlet malls acquired the nearby land, since they were not planning to build on it.
Geisel said the wetlands area will be connected to the Monarch Levee Trail as well as the outlet mall, with Taubman agreeing to provide parking and access from their lot.
The levee district had previously used the area as soil material for building the earthen barrier and Geisel said the city had long been wanting to use it as a park.
"When Taubman bought the property, it was timely for [the Monarch Levee District] to convey the leftover parcel," he said.
Geisel placed the area between Boone's Crossing and the ice rink, but noted that it is not yet open to the public. He said an official announcement opening the area can be expected in the near future.