Dardenne Prairie, MO
BaratHaven Park was envisioned to beautify the surrounding neighborhood with an accessible lake with trail and park improvements so that residents and visitors could enjoy nature in their backyards. This 80-acre park was the first project for the Dardenne Greenway. It is the home of a 15-acre lake with three overlooks. Also present are three miles of trail made of concrete, asphalt, and limestone connected to a new permeable parking lot. This park made a future connection to Busch Wildlife possible and in the process, it protects an oxbow and a wetland while creating acres of prairie.
Stabilizing and restoring the scenic areas along Dardenne Creek and Old Dardenne Creek has been critical to the creation of BaratHaven Park. Natural vegetation protects land adjacent to the creeks to preserve the riparian corridor for wildlife and prevent soil erosion. Also, new wetlands have been created along the creeks to enrich the habitat for native animals and plants.
The Dardenne Greenway features a sustainable plant palette utilizing a variety of native Missouri plantings that are not only hardy to this climate but are disease and insect resistant and more suitable for the existing soils. Additionally, these plants provide privacy for adjacent residential areas without inhibiting access, help define special places, frame desirable views, provide shade along trails, and enhance opportunities for wildlife habitat.
In addition to the green components, BaratHaven Park also has an educational component. It’s adjacency to a school allows students and visitors to discover and appreciate the beauty and history of the park via educational signage and an outdoor classroom. The designers’ role in this process was to meet with the students to help them design an outdoor classroom that responds to the environmental features of the site. The team integrated stumps, in essence, the classroom, into an existing slope on-site near the protected oxbow. A u-shaped body of water formed when a wide meander from the main stem of the Dardenne Creek was cut off to create a lake. Here they created a place for the students to engage in activities that explore the many physical and relational patterns of ecology.
*Project completed while working at a previous firm.