The Federal Grant is Made Possible by the National Park Service
“This is another important step in the ongoing revitalization of Wellston,” St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger said. “There is real progress being made from the expansion of the STLVentureWorks Wellston Business Incubator to providing more recreation opportunities for young people. This is what the community has been asking for.”
The need for improved recreational opportunities was identified through a community needs assessment, according to St. Louis County Port Authority Executive Director Sheila Sweeney, whose organization prepared the grant application. The grant funding includes money for development of the fields, new parking areas, landscaping and maintenance. Congressman William Lacy Clay played a key role in securing the funds.
“Wellston is an area where great progress is being made in improving economic opportunities and making the community attractive for families,” Clay said. “By providing these kinds of recreational facilities for young people and their families, we are helping to put our youth on a path to success.”
The Sparta Court Soccer Fields will be built on vacant lots adjacent to the recently developed Early Explorers Child Development Academy that serves 120 families. The complex will include two soccer fields designed for players 4-8 years old.
The grant is from the U.S. Department of the Interior Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership program administered by the National Park Service and funded by the Land and Water Conservation Fund.
“Funding the Sparta Court Soccer Fields is a very concrete step in improving health and wellness,” Sweeney said. “This will dovetail very nicely with all the work being done in St. Louis County and the City of Wellston to strengthen the community.”
The grant application was supported by Jefferson National Expansion Memorial (Gateway Arch) Superintendent Michael Ward, which represents high-profile part of the National Park Service. St. Louis County Councilwoman Hazel Erby was also supportive, and Wellston Mayor Nathaniel Griffin wrote a letter of support.
The St. Louis County Port Authority, in partnership with the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership — the joint economic development arm for St. Louis County and the City of St. Louis which provides staffing for the Port Authority — works to develop and grow long-term, diversified business and employment opportunities in its service area by creating innovative solutions that generate increased wealth and enhanced quality of life.