by Michael R. Allen
A story from Saturday’s St. Charles County Journal, “Green acres: Couple donate land for park,” by Kalen Ponche, caught my eye. St. Charles County residents Dave and Mary Jane Wolk did not want their 67-acre property to be subdivided, so they are donating it to the St. Charles County Parks Department for eventual park space. According the article, the Wolks’ land is not the only park acquisition in the immediate future:
The county plans to spend $3.34 million for a 60-acre property owned by Robert J. and Patricia Day Barnard and a contiguous, 115-acre property owned by New Melle Lakes Development Co. and Apted-Hulling Inc.
(Anyone else surprised to see Apted-Hulling still around?) Besides these sizable acquisitions, the parks system in the county has received other donations from concerned families:
The Wolks are the fourth family to donate land to the county park system. Two of those donations are parks in reserve – 91 acres northwest of O’Fallon donated by Dolores Freymuth, and 100 acres south of Highway 364 (Page Avenue extension) and west of the Missouri River donated by Bill and Nancy Knowles. Officials hope to open the Old Boyd Plantation and Towne Park, donated by Betty Towne, next year.
The St. Charles County Parks Department now owns 2,855 acres and hopes to own 4,000 acres by 2015. These numbers are encouraging. If the past 25 years were years where St. Charles County leaders aggressively pursued development of rich farm land, maybe the next 25 will be years of sensible land conservation. As growth declines in that county, the time is right to safeguard land.