Gateway Arch

(CityArchRiver 2015)

The $578 million plan to overhaul the grounds of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial (better known as the Arch) now has oversight in place.

The updated plans for the Gateway Arch were revealed at a public meeting last night as well as the possible cost of the project.

The preliminary figure is $578.5 million.

Walter Metcalfe, Jr., who has headed up the CityArchRiver foundation that sponsored the design competition, says completing a vision is worth the price:

Bill Greenblatt / UPI

The U.S. Secretary of the Interior and the Transportation Secretary were in East St. Louis today to talk about improvements to the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, a.k.a. the grounds of the Gateway Arch.

Walter Metcalfe
St. Louis Public Radio file photo

This time last year revitalizing the Arch grounds seemed to be the impossible dream. An idea put forth by the Danforth Foundation to create a museum above ground on the Arch grounds was nixed by the National Park Service, and with that decision an enormous amount of money and the prestige of the Foundation took a hike.

The impossible dreaming did not take into account the determination of St. Louis lawyer Walter Metcalfe Jr.

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.

The Jefferson National Expansion Memorial commemorates the settlement of the west and distills that epic story into a single iconic symbol -- the Gateway Arch. Conceived in 1933, the Memorial began with a question: What should the city do about 40 blocks of historic riverfront buildings that were mostly vacant and deteriorating? The answer was obvious: commemorate all the history that happened in those buildings, history that fundamentally shaped our nation in the 19th century.

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