Friends of Lucas Park is comprised of Downtown residents working to improve and beautify our
neighborhood park. We had a very successful 2012 with the installation of a new playground as well
as sod and some landscaping. In 2013 we completed the installation of a new sprinkler system, planted
landscaping throughout the park and installed fitness equipment for ages 5 and up! It was a busy 2 years
and now we are getting ready to open up the park for use. For more information please contact us at the email
on the side of the page. Thanks for checking out Friends of Lucas Park!

FAQ and Concerns

1) What is the overall plan for Lucas Park?

The first action item will be to break the current pattern of behaviors at Lucas Park and physically stabilize the park. This started when the entire park other than the dog run was fenced off in July, 2012. Next, the irrigation system was upgraded, ensuring sprinkler coverage throughout the entire park. This work was completed in the spring of 2013. All of the benches have been removed and will be repaired for re-installation at a future time when the park has re-opened and the problem behaviors have been managed. Volunteer labor will be used to clean up the park, including sweeping up debris, cleaning out drains, edging the concrete sidewalk, maintaining the landscaping beds, and many other tasks. The Parks Department will use its resources to remove stumps, remove a few trees, trim the remaining trees and do other necessary work. By October of 2013, we hope to have all of the existing ground cover removed, necessary regrading complete, and new grass planted throughout.

The park, other than the dog run, playground and fitness equipment, will remain closed through early summer 2014 so that the grass and perennial plantings can become established.

Substantial security resources will be marshaled to protect the park from problem behaviors after the fence is removed– participants will include the police, park rangers, CID guides, Central Library security personnel and park users trained by the neighborhood watch. Moreover, an extensive effort will be made to fully engage the entire Downtown community to adopt Lucas Park as their outdoor gathering spot: a place for barbecues, frisbee, kicking the soccer ball, picnics, concerts, farmers' markets, festivals, strolling, and many other uses – a well used park is a safe park. When these updates are in place, by early summer, 2014, the fence around Lucas Park will be removed and the park will open for general public use.

Playground Installation

On September 8, 2012, Friends of Lucas Park built a playground in the eastern section of Lucas Park, where the Downtown Children’s Center had their playground for years. The playground includes a climbing tower with slides, 4 swings, and various “ground play” elements, required for ADA accessibility, that will allow for spinning and rocking. 12 inches ofengineered wood fiber will provide the ADA accessible safety surface of theplayground. The play equipment is situated in a location that maximizes the available shade. The Central Library will provide bathroom access for the playground’s users as well as a cafĂ© forlunch and snacks.

The playground was built by community volunteers using the KaBOOM! Community Build model. This model is based on the fact that communities involved in building their own playgrounds are more invested inusing and keeping up these playgrounds. On “Build Day”, September 8th, over100 volunteers assembled the playground from the base components, poured theconcrete footings, and shoveled in the engineered wood fiber safety flooring. “Build Day” had a festival like atmosphere, with activities for children, and the neighborhood celebrating its long desired playground.

Fitness Equipment Installation

In June of 2013, fitness equipment for ages 5 and up was installed to replace the outdated playground equipment on the west side of the park. Our hope is by adding this equipment there will now be something for all age ranges in Lucas Park bringing in more of the neighborhood on a regular basis. Local trainers will be hosting free classes for the public in order to learn how to use the equipment in a variety of ways and to get an effective and safe workout. Classes are open to anyone ages 5 and up. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

The fitness equipment was paid for through a KaBOOM! Alumni grant sponsored by Dr Pepper Snapple Group as well as funds raised from monthly Neighbors' Night Out fundraisers.

Fountain Repairs

After extensive investigation into repair costs of the existing fountain coping, plumbing repairs due to leaking pipes, and safety upgrades the Parks Department made the decision to temporarily fill in the fountain during this stabilization phase. The behaviors that came along with this water feature in the past are unwanted behaviors and nearly impossible to control without constant security in the park. At a depth of nearly 3 feet there was also the concern of injury to the children that are now actively using Lucas Park. This area is being filled in by the Parks Department and upgrades to the irrigation system have been made to accommodate the growth of grass in this area. We see this as a wonderful space to host movie nights, concerts, and other events as well as the daily use of kicking a soccer ball or playing catch.

2) Why will this effort to revitalize Lucas Park succeed when other previous efforts have failed?

- Leadership at the Mayor’s Office and Parks Department is fully engaged and supportive and sees the changes at Lucas Park as crucial to ensure public safety – the head of Friends of Lucas Park is the task force leader on Lucas Park for a Mayor’s Office task force focused on Lucas Park and its surroundings.

- The $75 million renovation of the Central Library and reorientation of its main entrance onto Lucas Park will bring significant momentum to our efforts.

- There are many more potential park users / supporters Downtown than there were when prior efforts were undertaken, and a well used park is a safe park.

- A playground for Downtown’s children (350 kids under 6 live Downtown) is being included, which will bring to the park a user group that will protect their desperately needed asset, parents with small children.

- Lessons learned from the very successful renovation of the formerly blighted Library Park, south of the Central Library, are being incorporated into the park design – Library Park previously suffered from many of the same negative behaviors seen at Lucas Park, and those behaviors largely no longer exist at Library Park.

- The entire park is receiving improvements from new grass and an extended sprinkler system to very extensive landscaping, which will set a strong tone discouraging nuisance behaviors and encouraging neighborhood use.

- The entire park is being fenced off for over a year to allow the new grass and landscaping to become established, which will also help break the long term pattern of negative behaviors that have plagued Lucas Park.

- The amount of seating in the park is being significantly reduced in the early stages of park reopening, decreasing the total number of people who can use Lucas Park which is today often over capacity – seating will be added gradually over time as Lucas Park demonstrates its ability to handle the seating without reverting to its prior status.

- As part of the Mayor’s task force on Lucas Park, the police are leading an initiative to greatly reduce the public feeding that occurs at Lucas Park and elsewhere in the neighborhood by warning and ticketing those doing the feeding.

- The Dog Park is already a positive influence on Lucas Park and is a substantial base upon which to build.

- The Bridge operates a feeding / drop-in program in the neighborhood, which has already significantly reduced the weekday population of homeless individuals at Lucas Park.

- A charter school, Lafayette Preparatory Academy, is expected to open at Christ Church Cathedral in August, 2013, and expects to use the Lucas Park playground extensively during weekdays.

- A security plan is being established that will utilize the Police, CID Guides, Park Ranges, Central Library security staff, the Neighborhood Watch, and trained neighborhood park users to drastically enhance the security environment at Lucas Park.

- Other affiliated Downtown neighbors are in concert protesting the liquor license of the 7-Eleven at 17th and Pine which is responsible for most of the single serve alcohol that is consumed at Lucas Park and is at the heart of a constellation of behaviors including panhandling, stealing, public drinking, public urination and littering.

- Most of the leaders of Friends of Lucas Park are parents of children who intend to stay Downtown with their families who are mightily motivated to create a park and playground that they and their neighbors can use within walking distance of their homes.

3) How will Friends of Lucas Park (FoLP) work to keep the park a place for the entire community to use?

This will be up to the neighborhood. The more residents that use the park the easier it will be to maintain the park. Our hope is to reduce the number of bad users and replace them with good users. With the playground and fitness equipment opening before the rest of the park, we hope that dog park, playground and fitness equipment users establish a habit of regularly being in the park. Once the remaining parts of Lucas Park are opened we need the rest of the neighborhood to walk through, gather, play catch, etc. in the park. Those engaging in illegal activities will not want to do so around good park users.

4) How will FoLP help address safety issues in the park?

We have been in discussions with District 4 Police Officers,CID guides, the Central Library, and local government officials who all understand our safety concerns. We have been promised more foot patrol and bike visits from both the District 4 Police and CID guides. There is also talk of hiring City's Finest, local off duty police officers, to patrol the area during high occupancy times. Friends of Lucas Park will also be active with the Downtown Neighborhood Watch attending monthly meetings in attempt to educate the community on what to do if certain behaviors are occurring.

5) What community events will be held in the newly renovated park?

We plan to continue fundraising in order to purchase permits to allow for farmers markets, movie nights, neighborhood blocks parties and more. We will also have routine park clean-ups and plantings in order to keep our park looking fabulous. Let us know what events you would like to see in the park!

6) How do I get involved? 

Email us at

7) How do I make a donation?

Donations can be made through PayPal on our or by check. Please email for check mailing address.

8) When will the park re-open?

We will open portions of the park as that area is completed. We hope to have the entire park ready to use early Summer 2014.

9) What other community leaders/associations are involved with this project?

Participants and partners include the Central Library,Christ Church Cathedral, the City of St. Louis Parks Departments, LafayettePreparatory Academy (new charter school), The McGowen Brothers (largest areaproperty owner), the Community Improvement District, Urban Harvest, the LucasPark Beautification Project (the dog park manager), residents, businesses, property owners, dog park users, homeless individuals, and many other constituencies.

10) Will the homeless be allowed in the park? 

Lucas Park is public property and all are welcome. What is not welcome are the illegal behaviors that have been going on and have become almost expected. Police will be strongly encouraged to enforce violations of park curfew, littering, public drinking and the dealing and usage of illegal substances. The neighborhood will be asked to take care of their park and report any and all bad behavior in order to keep Lucas Park a place where we all feel safe. The police have asked that we call the non-emergency number, 231-1212, whenever there are issues in the park

11) Is my donation tax deductible?

Yes, Friends of Lucas Park is a registered non-profit in the state of Missouri and has 501(c)(3) tax exempt status with the IRS.

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