The Jefferson National Expansion Memorial could soon have a new name.
The U.S. Senate has approved a bill to change its name to Gateway Arch National Park, which proponents say would better reflect the Arch, its famous centerpiece.
U.S. Sens. Roy Blunt and Claire McCaskill sponsored the bill, which only addresses the national park’s name. U.S. Reps. Lacy Clay, Ann Wagner and Blaine Luetkemeyer have sponsored similar legislation in the House.
If that measure passes, the name change would take effect when the renovated Arch grounds reopens in July.
The name change makes sense because the public already associates the national park with the Arch, said Ryan McClure, director of communications for the Gateway Arch Park Foundation.
“The Jefferson National Expansion Memorial name is not well known by the public and by visitors,” McClure said. “The name change to Gateway Arch National Park makes sense and the timing is right.”
It would be the first name change in the history of the park, designated as a historical landmark in 1935. The Arch, completed in 1965, has been through several renovations. The park also encompasses the Old Courthouse and the Luther Ely Square.
“One of the things that the name change does by having the term national park in it is highlight that we do have one of the great urban national parks right here in St. Louis and I think that that gets lost in that a lot of people don’t realize that it’s a national park,” McClure said.
McClure said that the name change will not have an effect on how the park is operated or maintained. He said there would be no additional costs for taxpayers.
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