Councilmen eye final OK of donation of 300 acres

Staff Report

St. Louis County is one step closer to inking a deal with Twin Hollow Associates in which the county will receive 300 donated acres of riverfront property next to Cliff Cave Park, including a three-mile loop trail winding along the Mississippi River.

The deal received unanimous support when the County Council gave initial approval to the legislation last week. The council was scheduled to cast its final vote on the issue on Tuesday — after the Call went to press.

Under the proposal, the company would build a three-mile looped trail following the Mississippi River just south of Cliff Cave Park. Twin Hollow would donate 35.93 acres for the trail and lease another 267.96 acres at a nominal price that the county would take ownership of by 2013.

As part of the deal, Twin Hollow would receive five, 50-foot-wide access roads, or easements, to reach its barges on the river and its remaining property situated be-tween the donated land.

Company owners also operate the Jef-ferson Barracks Marine Service, which retains mooring rights by the county Port Authority on the Mississippi River southeast of the park.

Councilmen unanimously gave initial approval to the proposal last week. No one spoke against the deal during the public forum part of the meeting, despite previous resident concern that Twin Hollow was using the deal to obtain council approval for industrial use on adjacent land the company will keep. Twin Hollow representatives insist that isn’t the case.

Tom Rollins, Twin Hollow co-owner, told the council Dec. 7 that he was excited about the donation.

“We have been able to design and meet the requirements set forth by the St. Louis County (Department of) Parks (and Rec-reation),” he said. “Thus, we set upon a project of meeting with the task force, this was a group of individuals who were gathered by the local residents (who originally opposed the plan). We had numerous meetings with them … and were able to formulate some of their suggestions and changes.

“We think that this is a beautiful piece of property for the purpose that we intend for it to be here in the future,” he added. “It is our belief that the trail will be a catalyst for other business, environmental and social organizations to support the proper use of this land in the future. The acreage adjacent to the trail should provide a unique experience for both youth and the old alike. This is a gift with no strings to untie after Christmas.”

Councilman John Campisi, R-south county, responded, “I would like to thank Twin Hollow for working with the task force in my area. Ultimately, the community is the winner in this whole thing; both the community and Twin Hollow.”