Residents near Cliff Cave Park not pleased with new construction project

ST. LOUIS (KPLR) – A construction project at Cliff Cave Park in south St. Louis County has not found approval with all its neighbors.

Joan Stesska, who’s lived on Cliff Cave Road for 38 years, said she never expected the park across the street from her home, which is a heritage park, to have construction.

“My goal is to stop this project right now and get the council to look at the area and see it’s not a good design,” she said.

The St. Louis County Parks and Recreation Department and Great Rivers Greenway are constructing a two-mile extension of the current greenways.

Trees are being cut down as part of the project and a parking lot put near Stesska's home. She said the council didn’t follow protocol in launching the project and residents just want a say in the design.

“My understanding is you have to present a bill three times and have a vote, but what am I? I’m just a taxpayer who paid for this,” Stesska said.

Emma Klues, a spokeswoman for Great Rivers Greenway, said all laws were followed and there were hearings on the matter. However, attorney Kathleen Henry disagrees.

“The council did not introduce the ordinance authorizing the executive to make the contract,” Henry said.

Henry is trying to get a temporary injunction to stop construction because she said trees that bats are living in right now are being torn down. Normally they would be hibernating, but warm weather has changed things.

Stesska will have her say, along with Henry, at a public hearing Monday.

“The goal for Monday is to get a preliminary injunction to stop the work from being continued in Cliff Cave Park,” Henry said. “Some residents are worried about overcrowding, small roads leading in and out, animals with no place to go, and cutting down trees that surround their homes. They just want a new design.”