Wednesday, February 25, 2009

"Park Into the City" - an approach for Chouteau's Landing?

Improving connectivity is the one common theme throughout most of the discussions about how to enliven the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial. In the draft General Management PLan, there are multiple alternatives and one preferred alternative. The preferred alternative is called "Program Expansion". Another alternative is called, "Park Into the City" and the last action option is called "Portals".

Through the design competition, combinations of the various alternatives may emerge. During the student design charette, one proposal showed the park growing across Memorial Drive, into the heart of downtown. That may be among the interesting but undoable ideas, but what about considering this approach for the connection with Chouteau's Landing?

Yesterday we described the no-mans land under the Poplar Street Bridge between Chouteau's Landing and the Arch grounds. At Chouteau's Landing, there's good potential for historic rehab, artists lofts, and new investment. Could a "Park Into the City" approach breath life into the Chouteau's Landing neighborhood?

Thinking of improving connectivity in an incremental way is one approach to making progress in manageable stages, that over time add up to a better connected downtown and riverfront.

1 comment:

Greg G. said...

Love the idea. I'm sitting here looking at on the birds eye view and trying to get a vision for a connector between the park and the landing. I think you have to look at this and qualify a few things.
1) Concrete factors - That's a play on words, but these are conditions that are not going to change anytime soon. I see the highway, the train tracks, the high KVA powerlines, the new parks building on the south side of the memorial. These are obstacles we have to work around.

2) Workable issues. Barren space, concrete lots, empty buildings, roads, overgrowth of weeds.

It's hard to imagine this being an residential area, at least not Powell Square and the northern most buildings on First Street (I call them the Servco buildings because of the sign on the tin structure). There are too many negative conditions for a buyer in the way of the sound from the highway and trains. I think the large block of buildings on first street and Cedar are the best bet for residential. Powell Square should probably be a commercial building, as a landlord could better recoup the investment in soundproofing the building from commercial tenants rather than residential.

I can't say I see a lot of new buildings going up between Powell Square and the Servco buildings, but that would be a perfect area for your park connector. I think the key would be the connector not only connecting the landing to the memorial, but also to 4th Street at Gratiot St. Somehow you have to tie all of these area's back together.

Those are my thoughts.