Charlene Prost | St. Louis Public Radio

Charlene Prost

Charlene Prost
CityArchRiver says water features allow for play but can be turned on or off, opening up more room for other activities. The fountains will be lit and can change colors for events and celebrations.

If there’s a sports-related rally, a festival, even a gathering of protesters or an outdoor civic event in the city, chances are that it will happen in downtown’s Kiener Plaza. In the view of some, Kiener works just fine as it is.

But what if:

A new rendering of exhibits at the museum under the Arch.
CityArchRiver 2015

Renderings courtesy CityArchRiver 2015 A new rendering of exhibits at the museum under the Arch.

The exhibits in the museum beneath the Gateway Arch haven’t changed much since the museum first opened in 1976. Ditto for the ones at the Old Courthouse, which have also grown old.

Old Courthouse rendering from 2013
CityArchRiver 2015

While much of the CityArchRiver plan for reviving the Gateway Arch and what’s around it involves new attractions and activities, Trivers Associates is focusing on a piece of the area’s history: the Old Courthouse.

As prime architect, Trivers is overseeing renovations and updates for the domed building. Because it dates back to the early 1800s and is one of the most iconic structures in that area, renovating and updating present special challenges.

Pruitt-Igoe in the 1960s
U.S. Geological Survey

This article originally appeared in the St. Louis Beacon - Nearly 40 years ago, as viewers around the country watched the nightly news on their television screens, an 11-story tower framed by the Gateway Arch in St. Louis came tumbling down. It was the beginning of the end for Pruitt-Igoe, by then a crime-ridden, vandalized 33-building public housing complex that had been one of the largest of its kind ever built.

Razing the place was supposed to fix the Pruitt-Igoe problem. It did -- and it didn't.

You can talk for hours with St. Louis area residents, visitors, architects and others to get their take on the five competing final design concepts for the Gateway Arch grounds and its surroundings. But you likely won't find another viewer like Brendan Lehand.

Walter Metcalfe at Arch news conference
Rachel Heidenry | Beacon | File photo

U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar came to town today to take his own look at the five final competing plans for the Gateway Arch grounds and its surroundings, calling them all "truly exciting for me and for the nation."

And as he did on a visit here last July, months before the design competition got underway, he once again pledged his support for getting the winning design built by 2015 -- the 50th anniversary of the Arch.

Photo by Rachel Heidenry | Beacon intern

Donald Stastny said designs must work with the power and unpredictability of the river.

Want to swim in a pool in a floating pavilion in the Mississippi River near the Gateway Arch? Or ride high above the river in a gondola taking in panoramic views?

How about an attractive, safe way to stroll across traffic from Citygarden and the Gateway Mall onto the Arch grounds -- or pass a beer garden or ice skating rink to get to Chouteau's Landing south of the Arch?

Streetcar "car-card" advertisement
Provided by Tower Grove Park

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon. - Visitors won't be coming on streetcars to see the lily ponds in bloom as they once did -- note the "car card" advertisement above that would have been posted on the interior of a United Railways Co. streetcar. And more than likely, you won't see women in long dresses holding parasols and men in Victorian suits standing on lily pads.

But what you will find these days in the middle of historic Tower Grove Park are the same three lily ponds, newly revived after a $400,000-plus renovation. And they are looking as they did nearly a century ago when people rode streetcars to see them in full bloom, and some did pose for pictures standing on lily pads.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis is considering what could be its biggest production yet: a move from its long-time home at Webster University to a new facility in the Grand Center arts and entertainment district.