St. Louis is famous for cool traditions but also for our resistance to change. Soon we will be asked to overcome that resistance and pull together as a community to carry out a transformation of our downtown's riverfront area.
We are in the midst of an historic design competition. The work of world class design teams will soon build a vision to transform our downtown, the Arch grounds, and riverfront. The results offer the potential to be the crowning achievement of more that 25 years of downtown revitalization. The elusive dream of a riverfront and Arch grounds which are connected to downtown and active with people is on the brink of coming true.
It has taken a lot of work to get us here. Civic leaders pushed for years to make this happen. They convinced the National Park Service and the City of St. Louis to sponsor an international design competition to reinvigorate the Arch grounds. That competition has drawn the brightest talent from around the world to focus on our downtown, riverfront and the Arch - and the too long neglected east bank of the river. Soon the five teams will be releasing their plans to the public and the jury will be tasked with making the decision to select the winning design.
Then the challenge will be on St. Louis and the region to follow through to make it happen. It will take all of us working together as a region to raise the money and will to get this done. St. Louis is famous for completing plans that are never carried out. We can't let that happen this time.
This time we need to follow through on the hard work that got us here to make the dream a reality for the future of St. Louis. Everyone has to be in the boat and pulling in the same direction. We need to ask ourselves, our neighbors, and our community organizations what we are willing to do to make it happen?
The program to transform the Arch grounds and riverfront is an opportunity to bring the St. Louis region together in many new partnerships. These are exciting times and we are on the brink of doing something very special. This project has the potential to not only transform the built environment and experience of the downtown and east bank area but ultimately to make us better people as well.