Friday, July 11, 2008

Group Formed to Drive Arch Changes

A new organization, "Groundswell For Change", has been created to promote new changes for the Arch grounds. They have a quality website and long lists of names for both a steering committee and endorsements.

Channel 5 profiles the group in a story here

Groundswell For Change Endorsements:

AIA St. Louis
American Society of Landscape Architects
Associated General Contractors of America
Building & Construction Trades Council of St. Louis, AFL-CIO
Carpenter' District Council of Greater St. Louis and Vicinity
Civic Progress
Downtown NOW!
Downtown St. Louis Partnership
Eastern Missouri Laborers' District Council
Greater St. Louis Labor Council, AFL-CIO
Joint Letter - St. Louis County Executive, Chairman, Madison County Board, St. Charles County Executive, Chairman, St. Clair County Board
Landmarks Association of St. Louis
Metro Mayors of St. Louis
Missouri Growth Assocaition
Missouri Restaurant Association
RCGA, St. Louis
Regional Business Council
Resolution of Support for Revitalization of the Downtown St. Louis Riverfront
St. Louis Area Hotel Association
St. Louis Association of REALTORS
St. Louis Convention & Visitors Commission
St. Louis County Municipal League

Groundswell For Change Steering Committee:

Ann Auer, Executive Vice President, Missouri Growth Association
Pat Bergauer, Executive Vice President, Missouri Restaurant Association
Vicki L. Boyer, Executive Director, St. Louis Area Hotel Association
Robert Bray, President, St. Louis Area Hotel Association
James Buford, President and CEO, Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis
Hon. T.R. Carr, Mayor, Hazelwood; President, St. Louis County Municipal League
Larry Chapman, President, Missouri Growth Association
James A. Cloar, President and CEO, Downtown St. Louis Partnership
Dr. William H. Danforth, Chancellor Emeritus, Washington University; Danforth Foundation trustee
Dan Dierdorf, Chairman, St. Louis Convention & Visitors Commission
Hon. Charlie Dooley, St. Louis County Executive
Hon. Alan Dunstan, Madison County Board Chairman
Gary Elliott, Business Manager, Eastern Missouri Laborers' District Council
Gerald T. Feldhaus, Executive Secretary Treasurer, Building and Construction Trades Council of St. Louis, AFL-CIO
David Fisher, Executive Director, The Great Rivers Greenway District
Richard C.D. Fleming, CEO and President, St. Louis Regional Chamber & Growth Association
Cliff Franklin, President and CEO, FUSE
Brad D. Furfaro, President, St. Louis Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects
Denise Hasty, Vice President, Governmental Affairs Associated General Contractors of St. Louis
Tom Irwin, Executive Director, Civic Progress
Hon. Mark Kern, St. Clair County Board Chairman
Fred Kratky, CEO and Executive Vice President, St. Louis Association of Realtors
William J. Kuehling, Attorney
Rich LoRusso, President, Missouri Restaurant Association
Richard M. McClure, President, Civic Progress
Hon. Michael McMillan, License Collector, City of St. Louis
Terry Nelson, Executive Secretary-Treasurer, Carpenters District Council of Greater St. Louis and Vicinity
David Newburger, Attorney; St. Louis City Commissioner on the Disabled
Rudy Nickens, Executive Director, The Black Rep
Kathleen T. Osborn, Regional Business Council
Hon. Alvin Parks, Mayor, City of East St. Louis
Perri Pryor, Secretary Treasurer, Eastern Missouri Laborers' District Council
Kitty Ratcliffe, President, St. Louis Convention & Visitors Commission
Hon. Lewis E. Reed, President, Board of Aldermen, City of St. Louis
Hon. Francis Slay, Mayor, City of St. Louis
Robert A. Soutier, President, Greater St. Louis Labor Council, AFL-CIO
Max and Colleen Starkloff, Starkloff Disability Institute
Dr. Donald Suggs, President and Publisher, St. Louis American
Anthony ("Tony") Thompson, president and CEO, KWAME Building Group
Wendy Timm, Treasurer, Missouri Growth Association
Leonard P. Toenjes, President, Associated General Contractors of St. Louis
Hon. Gerry Welch, Mayor, Webster Groves; President, Metro Mayors of St. Louis, Inc.
Hon. Phyllis Young, Alderman, 7th Ward, City of St. Louis

There is a good FAQ section, with lots of information about the organization's vision. The vision describes creating a better connection to the Arch grounds through a lid across the depressed lanes at the Old Court House and the development of a major new institution on the Arch grounds to increase visitor interest in the Arch.

The FAQ estimates the cost of the 3-block Lid project at $106,800,000, which includes an $18,000,000 endowment fund for maintenance.

The Groundswell for Change website has a section devoted to "thinking big". In that section, the group highlights what is happening in other cities, including Louisville. Louisville's riverfront area is very similar to ours in St. Louis. In Louisville, plans required moving a highway and reconfiguration of the street grid to reconnect the waterfront with its downtown. What if a similar plan were considered in St. Louis?

To avoid "junking up the Arch grounds", key advisors to the Danforth Foundation, Walter Metcalf, Dr. Robert Archibald, and Dr. Peter Raven, recommended that an international competition, not unlike the one that led to the design of the Arch, be held to design the new cultural institution and other changes. The call for a design competition is joined by others in the pro-St. louis community seeking solutions to make transformational change at the Arch.

Momentum is building around the issues surrounding the improvement of the Arch and how best to connect the area to downtown.


GMichaud said...

While it is great an awareness of city planning has occurred, I am still a bit concerned because this list of endorsements reminds me of how too often the elite in St. Louis grab hold of something and ruin it. (For some reason they always seem to think they know more than everyone else)
The fact an architectural competition has been suggested certainly helps matters, although there is ample evidence that the elite can screw up the simplest of tasks (ie the Gateway Mall)
Hopefully this signals new thinking, long overdue, for planning all over St. Louis, not just the Arch grounds.
In fact, with the hand ringing about AB Brewery and the previous loss of many corporate headquarters, perhaps the realization will set in that good, or even great city design can be a major factor in making St. Louis a desirable location for corporate headquarters.

Paris is similar to St. Louis in many ways, although a capital, it sits on a river. The contrast is stark. In Paris you cannot find vacant ground downtown, the other, St. Louis, can't even develop a key site next to a new stadium.
Probably the best thing the Groundswell for Change can do is admit they don't have a clue about what they are doing.
This is not my opinion, just look at the real results of the leadership of Civic Progress, the AIA and other organizations have presented St. Louis in the previous decades.
Not only are the Arch grounds a mess, but all of downtown and reaching further into the city and region itself demonstrates a total lack of understanding how to properly build cities.
The end result is economic downturns and the lack of growth for St. Louis. But hey, they impress each other at cocktail parties.

Cockbag LLC said...

I think Frank Gehry needs to design a signature piece to compliment the Arch.

Anonymous said...

Groundswell for Change is clueless unless it suggests that these local leaders should never be listened to or trusted again. How sickening, the same crew magically appears...