During its annual update to the public, the CityArchRiver foundation and its partners said they’re on track to complete improvements to the Gateway Arch grounds by 2015.
Ed Hassinger, district engineer for The Missouri Department of Transportation, confirmed that work toward a pedestrian bridge connecting downtown to the Arch is starting this summer.
CityArchRiver Chairman Walter Metcalfe said the bridge, along with a slew of other upgrades, could result in keeping visitors an extra half day.
That, he said, would directly and indirectly create 4,400 jobs.
“Four out of five visitors that walk into the Arch today are from out of town, keep them,” Metcalfe said. “It’s not built it and they will come, it’s build it and they will stay.”
Metcalfe said a total of 530 construction jobs will be created over the next three years.
Metcalfe also said CityArchRiver is on track to raise $250 million in private donations that would go toward completing and maintaining the project.
Officials confirmed a new riverfront trail is expected to be completed by the landmark’s 50th birthday.
The update comes two weeks after voters in St. Louis City and County approved Proposition P, a 3/16 of a cent sales tax that’s estimated to generate a total of more than $31 million annually to pay for renovating the Arch grounds, along with sprucing up St. Louis City and County parks and trails. An estimated $9.4 million of that will be funneled into expanding trails and walkways.
Susan Trautman is executive director of Great Rivers Greenway, a publicly funded agency that will manage the money for trail improvements.
She said they’re still considering where work will begin when they start receiving the sales tax money this December.
“We’re going to start this summer by looking at what’s next on the horizon for us,” Trautman said. “A big one for us is the is that connection from Grants Trail to River des Peres to Jefferson Barracks, that’s a huge, critical connection, I can tell that’s probably going to be one of the first ones out of the box.”
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