5 proposals were recently selected as finalists for the revitalizing the Arch Grounds in Downtown St. Louis.  All of the proposals will be on display at the Park for the public to review starting Tuesday August 17th.  Each proposal is different and has its strengths and drawbacks.  The blog at urbanstl.com has a detailed rendering of each proposal on its post from Tuesday.  The commentary that has been flying around twitter and the blogs have been interesting and most are excited about the possibilities.  Although the project is still in its proposal phase it is scheduled to be completed in 2015.


The primary objective of the project seems to be to bring the community closer to the monument and the park.  Right now the arch exists in relative isolation being flanked by I-70 on the west and the largely unused (by the public) river front to the east.  A myriad of parking garages and vacant buildings sit to the north and south of the grounds.  The proposal aim to bring life to the park through building projects ranging from bicycle paths and new ponds to such ambitious ideas as creating a “magic carpet” of grass that covers I-70 so that the public can walk from downtown over the highway on the Arch grounds.

Bike Across the MacArthur Bridge

One of the most interesting objectives of the project in general is trying to incorporate the east side of the river into Arch Grounds.  This is a common theme among all 5 proposals.  The ideas include a bike bath across the McArthur Bridge, a wetland area for boating and kayaking, an outdoor concert venue, and observation areas for looking over the Arch and Downtown St. Louis.  On first glance the thing that seems to be lacking on the east side of the rive are amenities for people to use once they are on the east side of the river.  There should be considerations for small scale shopping and restaurant options for people who want to make a day of the side of the park that will be more geared toward the outdoors, nature, and presumably Native American history.

The over all theme of the project seems to be connectivity.  Whether it be parts of Downtown that are seemingly separate or the west side of the river and the east side of the river everything that is being proposed seems to be designed to take down those barriers.  The hope for the project is that St. Louisans will be develop a closer relationship with the Arch.  Rather than visiting for a Cardinal game or a Live on the Levee concert and leaving immediately after the event the public will linger and explore Downtown.  They will spend their entertainment dollars here and the city’s economy will grow.

I haven’t taken a detailed look at each proposal yet but I plan to get down to the Arch to do so soon (for the first time in years ironically).  After briefly looking through the proposals there is one that stands out to me.  Be sure to take a look at urbanstl.com and see which one looks best to you!