Another key portion of the renovations at the Gateway Arch is complete. At the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, pathways in the park surrounding the Gateway Arch are opening to visitors after a construction project that has renovated the park grounds. Tree-lined processional allées and the North Gateway park area will open to the public November 22. Brand new connections to the Arch from Laclede’s Landing, the riverfront and Downtown will better weave the park into the fabric of the downtown St. Louis area as part of the ongoing $380 million public-private CityArchRiver project, a reimagining of the Gateway Arch grounds and surrounding areas. (Click here for a map of the new pathways.)
The National Park Service broke ground on improvements for a renovated park surrounding the Gateway Arch on September 25, 2014. When all is complete, visitors can enjoy 5.4 miles of new pathways, 1.8 miles of pathways renovated for accessibility, new lighting, trees, more benches, and other amenities.
“This is an exciting milestone in the life of this project and this park,” said Mike Ward, superintendent of Jefferson National Expansion Memorial. “Now visitors can enjoy new pathways, views and landscaping around the Arch. As more pathways and lawns open, the park will be much more accessible to people of all abilities.”
Starting Tuesday, visitors are invited to explore the new North Gateway section of the park, which is the former site of the old Arch parking garage. The garage has been replaced with 7.5 acres of new park area that includes a natural amphitheater area, shaded lawns, a bike and pedestrian path, the Explorers’ Garden (a landscape designed for children to play and learn), diverse and interesting plantings, and a scenic raised walkway from 1st St. at the Eads Bridge to the North Overlook on the Arch grounds. This area will provide pedestrian access from Laclede’s Landing, through the park, all the way to the Arch.
While many pathways will be open, some of the new lawn areas will be closed until spring 2017 to allow root systems to grow. A few pathways will also remain closed due to ongoing construction on the museum and other areas (see map). CityArchRiver project partners are planning celebration events for spring of next year when the lawn areas and additional pathways will be open.
“We look forward to celebrating more pathways and lawns opening this spring and several other big openings, including the new museum, to follow,” said Ward.
Regular tours of the entire CityArchRiver project area occur the first Friday of every month. To RSVP, visit www.CityArchRiver.org/visit.
The renovation design was developed by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates with private funding through the CityArchRiver Foundation. Construction on the renovated park landscape work is funded by the National Park Service, Great Rivers Greenway and the CityArchRiver Foundation. Great Rivers Greenway is overseeing funding provided by Proposition P, a sales tax approved by voters in April 2013 that provides funding for improvements to the Arch grounds and surrounding areas.
About Jefferson National Expansion Memorial:
The Gateway Arch and the Old Courthouse are part of Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, located on the riverfront in downtown St. Louis. The Gateway Arch is open from 9 am to 6 pm. The Old Courthouse, which features historic museum exhibits is open daily from 8 am to 5 pm. Unique educational products are available in The Arch Store and in the Old Courthouse Store. For more information, visit www.nps.gov/jeff or www.gatewayarch.com.
About the CityArchRiver project:
CityArchRiver is a transformational project that will enhance the Gateway Arch experience for all visitors. The project will create a seamless park experience from the city to the Mississippi River, providing visitors with a more vibrant place to visit, enjoy, and return. CityArchRiver is a public-private partnership including the National Park Service, Missouri Department of Transportation, Great Rivers Greenway, City of St. Louis, Bi-State Development, Jefferson National Parks Association, CityArchRiver Foundation and many other organizations. For more information, please visit www.cityarchriver.org.