Construction of the Gateway Arch and Interstate 70 in 1964
Photo from the Western Historical Manuscript Collection
I still find this photograph one of the most depressing images of St. Louis. Our beloved stainless steel monument to westward expansion is not even halfway complete, and it is already being cut off from the City. Since it was built, the Gateway Arch and surrounding park have stood on an island surrounded by tangles of infrastructure. St. Louis' front door was closed before it was ever finished.
However, with the convergence of two events: the construction of the new Mississippi River bridge which will carry I-70 across to Illinois north of Downtown and concurrent The City+The Arch+The RIver Design Competition, the opportunity exists to reopen our front door and re-connect St. Louis to the Arch, the riverfront neighborhoods north and south and to its birthplace, the river itself.
Next Tuesday the 17th, at 8:00 am, the designs of the 5 competition finalists will be unveiled to the public. For ONE WEEK only, the public will be able to submit comments about the designs that will be given to the competition jury for consideration as they select the winning team.
The following night, City to River will be hosting an event at the Schlafly Tap Room. We will have visuals of the finalists designs available as well as laptops so you can make your comments directly on the competition website. Comment cards will also be available that will be delivered to the competition exhibit at the Arch.
City to River will be encouraging everyone to comment favorably toward design proposals that call for highway removal and replacement with a boulevard. City to River feels that replacing the soon to be defunct section of I-70 from the PSB to Cass Avenue is the only way to truly re-connect St. Louis to its riverfront.
The event will also feature St. Louis trivia to make for a complete evening of fun! We have a Facebook event and encourage you to RSVP and share the invitation with all your friends.
If you cannot attend, please visit the The City+The Arch+The River Design Competition website, take a look at the designs and leave some comments. You can also see the designs in person and fill out a comment card in the underground lobby of the Gateway Arch daily from 8:00 am to 10:00 pm. Remember that public comments to the jury are only being taken through Monday, August 23rd. This is your chance to make a real difference in the future of St. Louis for the next 50 to 100 years! Please take time to participate.