Forest Park leaders ask visitors what they’d like at a year-round Steinberg rink
Forest Park leaders want to know what visitors think of a plan to make the Steinberg Pavilion and Rink available year-round as the park prepares for substantial renovations.
Proposals for the St. Louis rink include a new pavilion, an updated café, a water attraction that people can use in the summer and an area for fire pits. The renovations are needed to update some of the rink’s facilities that are more than 65 years old, park leaders said.
“We went back to the master plan that was created for Forest Park when the renovations of the park first began in the late 1990s,” Forest Park Forever Senior Vice President of Development and Community Initiatives John O’Gorman said. “It did call that we look at Steinberg as something that could be active year-round. … We started to ask the community what they'd like to see in this space.”
Park leaders aim to complete the community outreach over the next few months and submit a renovation plan to the city and the park's advisory board over the summer. O’Gorman said the park will undertake one of the largest fundraising efforts in its history to fund the renovations, for which it does not yet have an estimate.
The renderings came out of an initial survey asking more than 4,000 visitors what they’d like to see at the rink. O’Gorman said many people wanted to see event spaces for small concerts, markets, indoor rental spaces for events and community gatherings on the eastern side of the park while keeping the ice rink intact.
“I think that this is going to provide a lot of activities for people and attract people to the park, some of whom might not even be coming to the park now,” O’Gorman said.
O’Gorman said the park is also looking at ways to accommodate roller skaters.
The rink became a popular destination among roller skaters in 2021. Park rangers initially blocked access to roller skaters before Mayor Tishaura Jones and the Parks Department allowed roller skaters to use the rink.
For longtime skaters like Andy Stephens, who has gone to roller-skating events at Steinberg in recent years, expanding the skating options will help keep the rink busy all year.
“There is a large roller-skating community. In St. Louis, I see people on roller skates every time I go to Tower Grove Park or Forest Park,” Stephens said. “Being able to skate there on Mondays was honestly the best part of the pandemic for me because I met so many people.”