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Proposed Loop/Forest Park Trolley Project Snags $25 Million Federal Grant

Loop trolley 2010
File photo | Rachel Heidenry | St. Louis Beacon
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The federal government has awarded a $25 million “urban circulator grant’’ for the planned trolley system that would run from University City’s Loop district through Forest Park.

The grant was among only five awarded nationally, and would cover more than half the cost of the estimated $43 million project.

“This really is an exciting honor for the entire St. Louis region, more than Forest Park and The Loop,” said Joe Edwards, owner of Blueberry Hill and the Moonrise Hotel, in a statement. Edwards had first proposed the project 17 years ago.

“We’ve always had a goal of building the trolley system without tapping into general funds from the City of St. Louis or University City,” said Edwards. “We’re very pleased with the FTA’s support, comments and suggestions, and we’re grateful to everyone who has worked to bring the Loop Trolley project to this point.”

Plans call for the  2.2-mile “Loop Trolley” to consist of three vintage trolley cars, which would  travel along Delmar Boulevard and DeBaliviere Avenue.  The trolley would make 10 scheduled stops, linking The Loop entertainment/shopping district to Forest Park, with a stop at the Missouri History Museum.

Project backers note that The Loop “derived its nickname from the streetcar system that serviced the area until 1966.”

The project’s leaders also announced that they have awarded a construction management contract to St. Louis-based Kwame Building Group, Inc.

Jo Mannies has been covering Missouri politics and government for almost four decades, much of that time as a reporter and columnist at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She was the first woman to cover St. Louis City Hall, was the newspaper’s second woman sportswriter in its history, and spent four years in the Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau. She joined the St. Louis Beacon in 2009. She has won several local, regional and national awards, and has covered every president since Jimmy Carter. She scared fellow first-graders in the late 1950s when she showed them how close Alaska was to Russia and met Richard M. Nixon when she was in high school. She graduated from Valparaiso University in northwest Indiana, and was the daughter of a high school basketball coach. She is married and has two grown children, both lawyers. She’s a history and movie buff, cultivates a massive flower garden, and bakes banana bread regularly for her colleagues.

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