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Public meetings to be held on future of Arch grounds

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By Bill Raack, KWMU

St. Louis, MO – The public has two opportunities this week to comment on the future development of the Gateway Arch grounds.

The National Park Service is considering four alternatives for the 91 acres surrounding the Arch. Frank Mares, deputy superintendent of the Arch, says they are somewhat restricted in the changes they can make to the park.

"We have first of all a National Historic Landmark. That's what the Arch and grounds are. So that means something. That means it has the highest level of protection. We can't just put up anything even if we all thought it was a great idea. But there are things you can do without destroying its value," Mares said. "We can't put up a high-rise hotel between the legs of the Arch even if everyone thought that was a wonderful idea because that would destroy the value of the site setting and so on. But does it mean nothing can be built? No, it doesn't mean nothing can be built."

A group of prominent residents has suggested building a privately-financed museum on the Arch grounds but that proposal has not been embraced by the Park Service.

The public has until March 16th to comment on the various alternatives. Click here for details of the public meetings and the four alternatives.

Tonight's meeting is 5-7 p.m. in the Gateway Arch's Tucker Theater. Tuesday's meeting is 6:30-8:30 p.m. in the Steinberg Auditorium, Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Arts, Washington University.

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