Alwal “Al” Moore is standing near Forest Park’s Deer Lake Savanna on a warm summer day, reflecting on his early years growing up in South St. Louis, attending University City schools and visiting Forest Park.
Whether touring the Park with his mother or playing baseball with friends, he remembers those Forest Park days in part for the sad state of its grounds.
“It was pretty bad,” he says. “Very little maintenance, little care. The grass was knee-high, there were potholes. I think the people of St. Louis realized they had a diamond in the raw and didn’t know what to do with it.”
As he looks around today’s Forest Park, Moore sees a vast, beautiful and thriving destination where people from all walks of life can enjoy time with friends and family.
“I think what Forest Park Forever is doing is fantastic,” he says. “Forest Park is now a thing of beauty. You can get out here in nature and see a lot of things you wouldn’t see living in the City. It’s done a world of good.”
Moore has made a remarkable leadership gift to the Forever campaign, in honor of his late wife, Bette. The gift is supporting the current improvements and beautification of the Muny Tributary, located between the Boathouse and the Muny. Previously overridden with invasive species and offering little in the way of visitor enjoyment, the restored area — including the newly named Moore Meadow — will offer visitors a new area to picnic, read a book or enjoy the enhanced and more approachable waterway, complete with boulder seating and new cascades.
Of making such a generous donation, Moore says, “I have a theory about money. I have money in the bank, and I’ve figured out that I can’t take it with me. I figure the money I put into this park is going to earn far more ‘interest’ than that money sitting in a bank earning nothing.”
Moore hopes that the Forever campaign will encourage more people to support the Park. “I just hope that more people find out what they can offer the Park, how they can get involved. This is a park of the future. It’s well-maintained — and getting better every day. It’s a place to live a life.”
How does Al Moore sum up the impact of Forest Park on the community? "It's done a world of good."