Donzes Unveil Master Plan For Pere Marquette Park To Park Board

By Eric X. Viccaro

EVICCARO@STEGENHERALD.COM

The master plan has arrived.

Nick Donze and Mary Donze of Donze Park Planning, LLC, released the final master plan for Pere Marquette Park during the Ste. Genevieve Parks and Recreation board meeting on Aug. 25.

“I was happy with the process,” Nick Donze said in a telephone interview with the Ste. Genevieve Herald on Friday. “The public, the city, the staff and board all pitched in to make it complete.”

Piecing together the master plan for Marquette Park took roughly four months, beginning with a survey last spring.

“We had 350 responses, which was a foundation to work from,” Donze continued.

The final master plan is a 47-page document with plans, a background on the park written by noted Ste. Genevieve historian Bob Mueller, survey, possible partnerships, facility examples and trail accessibility guidelines.

Park board president John Conard explained this master plan will provide guidance on potential projects for the next eight to 12 years.

“We would like to start in October 2020, put together a subcommittee and get started,” he said. “This plan exceeded my expectations.”

There were several minor cosmetic changes from a plan shown on Aug. 3 during a special park board meeting.

The updated plan includes five or six potential parking spaces next to the basketball court to provide for better accessibility.

Only one covered picnic shelter will need to be removed in the plan. That shelter is located across the street from the park house on Matthews Drive.

The shelter will need removal to due to improved parking, and additional spaces.

Twelve to 16 parking spots were added for a proposed ampitheater, which also is planned across the street from the park house.

In addition, as part of the Charles Bussen deed, it was determined 4.6 acres of park space must be kept in its natural state. Native plants will be a feature near the sinkhole, and a hiking trail also has been proposed.

Nick Donze also explained that any new picnic areas to be built will match existing shelters for consistency purposes.

“The continuity of design elements should be consistent throughout the park,” the plan states. That includes paint colors, roofing materials, restroom fixtures, benches, tables and other park amenities.

A BRIEF HISTORY

The park has been a noted feature in Ste. Genevieve since the 1950s when the Chamber of Commerce deeded 55 acres to the city, as Mueller recounted in the history section of the master plan.

It has experienced many phases and trends throughout the years, including a pool (which opened in 1957 and was closed permanently in 2007), tennis courts and ice skating, Mueller explained.

Former mayor William J. Scherer read a proclamation in 1967 to rename the park after Father Jacques Marquette. The park board itself was established in 1977, with a sales tax dedicated to supporting parks and recreation initiatives.

THE MEAT OF THE PLAN

Nick and Mary Donze broke down the plan into four sections: active recreation area, central core, nature area and shelter site.

Active recreation areas include the soccer fields, T-ball field, a possible multi-purpose court resembling a similar one in Perryville, basketball court, adventure playground, picnic areas, restrooms and trails.

The central core includes a possible splash pad, picnic shelter with warming kitchen, potential ampitheatre for concerts and movies, special event areas and the disc golf course. The park office and maintenance buildings will remain, the plan states.