Author and historian Tracy Campbell views the Gateway Arch as an architectural wonder which draws millions of tourists to St. Louis, though he also argues the landmark is “an example of failed urban planning.”
To make way for the monument, nearly forty square blocks of riverfront property were demolished. The demolition began during a public ceremony on October 9, 1939.
City leaders only gained traction for the project once it was framed as a monument to President Thomas Jefferson.
The renovation of the Gateway Arch grounds is being called a “magnificent project” by two presidential cabinet members.
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood were in St. Louis Wednesday to celebrate a new $20 million federal grant for the project. The grant will help pay for a new “pedestrian lid” over Interstate 70 so people can move more easily between the Arch and downtown St. Louis.
Late Friday afternoon, William Lacy Clay, D-St. Louis, announced that the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, also known as the Gateway Arch and its grounds, has received a federal transportation grant. The grant will help fund engineering and planning for a pedestrian connector linking the Arch and downtown St. Louis.
Those familiar with the project say it's slated for completion in the fall of 2013.
The plan for the Plaza includes a performance pavilion, an eating venue, seating, and water features.
Walter Metcalfe with the CityArchRiver 2015 Foundation, the group that sponsored the design competition, said work on Kiener Plaza can move forward more quickly because it's not part of the National Park.