Park Projects

Widening the narrow walking path in Pere Marquette Park is among the improvements the Ste Genevieve Parks and Recreation Board would like to see completed if the new non-profit group Ste. Genevieve Park Friends can gain momentum as a fundraising organization. (Photo by MARK EVANS/Herald staff)

One year after its first meeting, the Ste. Genevieve Parks Friends (SGPF), a non-profit group founded to support the Ste. Genevieve public parks, is in jeopardy of folding.

Heather Torres, who has headed the group since the inception of the idea, is frustrated at not being able to recruit others to get the organization off the ground.

“My problem right now is getting people who are going to actively participate and not just come to the board because they want their name associated with it,” Torres said. “I need people who are going to be proactive; I need people who are going to want to make a difference and participate and not just be there to be there.”

The city of Ste. Genevieve Parks and Recreation Board decided in May 2018 to form a non-profit group to raise funds for park maintenance and improvement. After some debate, Ste. Genevieve Parks Friends was selected as the name. Torres was put in charge of it. City attorney Mark Bishop helped her successfully pursue a tax ID number and 501(c)3 non-profit status.

The first meeting took place in October 2018.

Torres, who joined the park board in April 2018, announced her resignation at the August 27 meeting so she could focus her energy on getting the SGPF up and running.

That energy is beginning to run low.

“If things don’t end up changing then I’m going to have no choice but to close down the non-profit because right now I am the  only sitting member on my board,” Torres said. “I am the sitting president, and there is nobody else now on the board.”

Mayor Paul Hassler expressed hope that the group can get off the ground.

“It would be great, it really would,” he said. “I hope people step up to the plate on that board. I really think that’s what you need to make that happen up there.”

See complete story in the October 9 edition of the Herald.