An effort to improve safety and access between the Gateway Arch and the riverfront has begun. City leaders and developers kicked off construction Thursday afternoon on the second phase of redeveloping the Arch grounds.
The $33-million project, centered along Leonor K. Sullivan Bvld., will elevate the corridor by nearly three feet to reduce flooding as well as add bike paths, walkways, better lighting and landscaping.
Missouri has joined a growing list of states looking to reopen national parks within their borders as the federal government shutdown continues.
In a statement released late Friday, Governor Jay Nixon (D) says he's directed members of his staff to put together a proposal for reopening National Park Service sites in Missouri, including the Gateway Arch in St. Louis and the Ozark National Scenic Riverways Park. He calls the two sites "national treasures" that draw millions of tourists every year and "generate significant economic activity."
National and state leaders broke ground Friday on the first phase of the CityArchRiver 2015 plan to revitalize the Gateway Arch grounds.
Two members of President Obama’s cabinet—Interior Secretary Sally Jewell and Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx—were present at the ceremony. The first project is a park to be built over Interstate 70 to improve accessibility between downtown and the Arch grounds. Senator Claire McCaskill praised local officials for getting to this point.
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Eero Saarinen under a model of the Gateway Arch in 1957.
Credit Used with permission from Yale University Press. From Eero Saarinen Papers Manuscripts and Archives, Yale University Library, Photograph by Richard Knight
The St. Louis riverfront, looking northeast from the Old Courthouse in 1895. This area now contains the Gateway Arch. The buildings shown here were prized by many historic preservationists, who objected to the demolition of unique cast-iron structures.
Credit Used with permission from Yale University Press. From the Missouri History Museum – St. Louis.
Workers tightening a bolt to secure the creeper derrick platform on the Gateway Arch.
Credit Used with permission from Yale University Press. From Arthur Witman Photographic Collection, State Historical Society of Missouri Research Center – St. Louis
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.