Monday, October 11, 2010

Arch design competition picked a winning team...

...but many large questions remain.

Chief among those is how to deal with the connection between the Arch grounds and downtown.

The winning MVVA team proposed a lid over the I-70 depressed lanes, with Memorial Drive remaining open in both directions across the lid.

Last week there was a meeting where proponents of the Arch redesign suggested that Memorial Drive be closed at the lid.

MVVA proposed closing Washington Avenue between Memorial Drive and the riverfront. The jury for the competition didn't like that idea, and recommended keeping the street open.

MVVA proposed closing Leonor K. Sullivan Boulevard at the foot of the Arch grounds along the riverfront, which to date hasn't generated much public response.

Large questions remain in the reworking of the Arch grounds. A ninety-day fine-tuning period has been established, currently at about day seventeen, to finalize how these questions will be decided.

The biggest questions are the same ones that were being asked at the start of the competition: What to do with the connections between downtown and the Arch grounds and what to do with the I-70 barrier between the city and the riverfront neighborhoods.

The question of how to pay for all of it is equally a part of the conversation. Proponents are mum on cost estimates. The design team is working on a budget at this time as well, but the cost will depend on the design, which is still being finalized.

With so many moving parts, the process is complex and difficult. How do you sell something with so many open questions? In the Show Me State of Missouri, it's not easy.

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