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Arch Riverfront Redevelopment Begins

Joseph Leahy
St. Louis Public Radio
City officials and developers shovel soil in a ceremonial groundbreaking Thursday at the Riverfront Overlook Stage between the Gateway Arch and the Mississippi River.

An effort to improve safety and access between the Gateway Arch and the riverfront has begun. City leaders and developers kicked off construction Thursday afternoon on the second phase of redeveloping the Arch grounds.

The $33-million project, centered along Leonor K. Sullivan Bvld., will elevate the corridor by nearly three feet to reduce flooding as well as add bike paths, walkways, better lighting and landscaping.

The riverfront project will be split into two phases. The first involves construction work from Chouteau Ave. to the Grand Staircase and is scheduled for completion next fall. The second phase, beginning late next year, will complete work from the staircase to Biddle St. with a target completion date to coincide with Arch's 50th anniversary in October 2015.

Great Rivers Greenway is overseeing the project. Executive Director Susan Trautman says the promenade will serve as keystone in a broader plan to link parks and trails along the Mississippi.

"It will not only provide everyone the opportunity to have a better experience at the Arch grounds and the river,” she said, “but it will connect you north to the Chain of Rocks Bridge in Illinois and, not very long from now, it will connect you south to Jefferson Barracks County Park."

The riverfront work is one of 12 components that make up the CityArchRiver 2015 Project. During the groundbreaking ceremony Thursday, Mayor Francis Slay described how transforming the area will better incorporate the Arch and its grounds into the metro area.  "We are going to connect the city to the Arch and to the river,” he said. “We're going to rejuvenate the Arch grounds and the experience itself. We will give people a new reason to come to the Arch, its city and its river and to stay longer once they get here."