Coming Together to Come Together: The Redevelopment of Love Bank Park
If you’ve spent time at the corner of Nebraska and Cherokee Street in the past five years, you’d likely find a small, robust community of business owners, restaurants, neighbors, volunteers, friends, and families playing basketball, relaxing in the shade, or taking their morning stroll. However, these simple pastimes are just the beginning of what Love Bank Park has in store.
The Cherokee Street Community Improvement District (CID) is launching a redevelopment of Love Bank Park. The reimagined park will include:
- A new basketball court
- A drinking fountain
- A small performance area
- A plaza
- Many plants and trees
Overall, the park will become a stronger asset for the community and its neighboring areas.
“Currently, we have very few free recreation spaces on Cherokee,” says Emily Thenhaus, the Executive Director of Cherokee Street Community Improvement District (CID). “Many of the people who live in or around Cherokee Street live in households that are at or below the poverty line. Trying to create a better, free amenity that serves our residential community is at the front of our minds.”
With 40 percent of the residential population under 21, the younger generation is their primary target audience. They plan to host music festivals, art shows, and other events to unite the community.
The updates coming to Love Bank Park were informed by issues that have existed for several years. Having no electricity, an uneven basketball court, and no area to cool off in the summer has made it quite a challenge to draw in park-goers and host events.
In the heart of the COVID-19 pandemic, Cherokee Street welcomed 25 new businesses and learned a lot about their community and its values. Companies had to perform their tasks and sales outdoors to remain open.
“COVID taught us a lot about our street in general, but also the value and sometimes the scarcity of outdoor communal space,” says Emily.
As a component fund of the St. Louis Community Foundation, the Cherokee Street Community Improvement District has been able to raise funds for construction costs. “Something that has been a dream for Cherokee since 2017 is now going to become a reality because we were able to raise the funds we needed through our partners at the St. Louis Community Foundation,” says Emily. To date, the fund has raised more than $20,000.
The park’s construction is scheduled to be done in the Spring of 2024. Click here to learn more about the plans for the park.
Click here to donate to the Cherokee Street Community Improvement District.