Yesterday's post highlighting "Unique St. Louis" included the idea of how we like our changes to happen more incrementally.
City leaders have put on the table a proposal for a potentially very significant incremental change to downtown St. Louis-the idea of placing sizable areas of the Arch grounds under local control.
Mayor Slay and Senator Danforth are working together to advance the effort to improve our riverfront, and they are convinced that local control over sections of the Arch grounds is an essential element of any major riverfront development plan.
They haven't announced any specific development strategies yet, however, the long-standing effort to better link the Arch grounds to the rest of downtown is a major component of the overall vision.
Historically, any intrusion onto the Arch grounds has been strictly verboten by federal authorities. The Arch is a National Park in downtown St. Louis and any changes to the status of a National Park require congressional approval. So, in order for our local effort to happen, we will have to build a pro-local control coalition all the way up to the halls of Congress. Senator McCaskill has already indicated her support.
Times change. Priorities change. Saarinen's original plan for Arch did include more active uses. Imagine the Arch more like the Eifel Tower, as a centerpoint of our community, rather than being set aside as a passive memorial.
Do you think strengthening the linkage between the Arch and downtown St. Louis might diminish its significance as a national landmark? Or would it be increased?