Neighborhood: Botanical Heights and Shaw
Project Location: Highway 44 underpass at Thurman and DeTonty
Project Sponsor: Shaw Neighborhood Improvement Association (SNIA)
Sustainability Plan Category: Urban Character, Vitality & Ecology
Thurman Gateway was a project designed to transform the blighted Highway 44 underpass at Thurman and DeTony in the Shaw neighborhood into a savannah prairie and social gathering site for residents in the community. After removing brush, trees, and planters, both native prairie grasses and flowering perennials were reintroduced along each side of the Highway 44 underpass to reduce social erosion and increase biodiversity, creating the new Thurman Gateway Park.
Throughout the project, the Shaw Neighborhood Improvement Association and the Thurman Gateway team recruited more than 200 volunteers to help with site preparation, planting, and mulching. The park now connects the neighborhoods of Shaw and Botanical Heights socially, environmentally and economically. Looking towards the future, neighborhood leaders and Sustainable in Saint Louis, a nonprofit that grew out of this project, have plans to resurface the highway 44 Thurman underpass, paint a mural, light the underpass, install benches for public seating, and replace the remaining concrete planters to really make Thurman Gateway park a social destination for residents in the community.
July 2013- Planning and partnership meetings; developed public awareness campaign; designed flyer for Shaw neighborhood distribution
August 2013-Tree removal; volunteer organization; completed landscape design and selected plants
September 2013-Site cleanup and preparation; concrete planter removal
October 2013- Hosted workdays to install native prairie and mulch
Related Resources: Missouri Prairie Foundation, St. Louis Chapter of the North American Butterfly Association, Heartland Prairie, Master Gardeners, Brightside St. Louis, Sustainable in Saint Louis