The Jefferson National Expansion Memorial in St. Louis, Missouri is located near the starting point of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. The park was established to commemorate several historical events and is maintained by the National Park Service. With its beautiful pristine lawns sloping down towards the Mississippi River, this 91 acre memorial park sits on the site of the original city of St. Louis and consists of the Old Courthouse; the Museum of Westward Expansion and probably the most well known icon of the city, The Gateway Arch. The Gateway Arch towers over the city of St. Louis as a reflective symbol of the western expansion of the country during the nineteenth century. Standing at 630 feet, this stainless steel structure is a marvel of modern engineering.
The seven Steiner brothers of Orrville, Ohio, recently took a road trip to St. Louis and while there, they visited the grounds crew that so immaculately maintain the National Park area and to see how they use Ventrac tractors, which are designed and manufactured by the Steiner brothers. They met with Jim Jacobs, Gardener Supervisor, and his crew, to catch a glimpse of just how they keep the park in its amazing state all year round.
The enthusiastic Arch Grounds crew love what they do and do an awesome job at it. They work hard keeping the park area around the Arch spotless and well groomed and what makes their work fun and productive is that they do it with a Ventrac. Not only does the Ventrac help make their work easier, they get a beautiful cut and striping effect, plus they have the ability to mow steep grades. The park area is a gorgeous site with its impressive sloping lawns and attractive pond area. But they are not always the easiest areas to maintain. Jim and his crew fell in love with Ventrac because it gave them the ability to feel safer while mowing the steep slopes in the park and particularly around the reflection ponds. In fact, their Standard Operating Procedures for mowing specifically states that the only mower authorized to mow around the pond is a Ventrac.
Currently, the crew operates three Ventrac 4200 series tractors to help groom the Memorial Grounds. Along with the tractors, they use over 12 attachments that keep those tractors moving all year round. During the warm seasons, they use Ventrac to do everything from mowing and sweeping to aerating and trenching. In the fall, the crew can be found seeding lawns, blowing leaves or sweeping sidewalks of debris. The winter is equally busy as the grounds crew uses the Ventrac tractors to remove snow, whether it’s in the parking areas or on the sidewalks. The narrow width of the Ventrac allows the crew to broom or plow snow in areas their larger equipment cannot pass through.
While the grounds crew uses their Ventrac tractors for many uses, they also operate with a large fleet of vehicles and grounds maintenance equipment such as a backhoe, several utility carts and other major pieces of equipment. Ventrac gives them the ability to perform tasks such as seeding, aeration, trenching and mowing on steep slopes that otherwise could not be done with other equipment.
The Steiner brothers enjoyed their visit to the Gateway Arch and the time spent with the grounds crew as they swapped stories and tips about using and operating the Ventrac. With the help of Ventrac, the grounds crew of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial makes the Arch Grounds a beautiful site day after day, season after season.
The Gateway Arch is quite a marvel of modern engineering. As the
Steiners stood at its base admiring the engineering and quality workmanship, they couldn’t help but think how the Ventrac tractor is also an engineering marvel in its own right.