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With $19 million, Brickline Greenway moves closer to construction

An artist's rendering shows what the Brickline Greenway could look like on North Grand Avenue.
Great Rivers Greenway
An artist's rendering shows what the Brickline Greenway could look like on North Grand Avenue.

The Brickline Greenway is meant to be a game changer — with up to 20 miles of separated bike and pedestrian paths linking parts of St. Louis that often feel like green islands in a car-centric city. Under a public-private partnership, Great Rivers Greenway will develop paths from the Arch to Forest Park and then north to Fairground Park and south to Tower Grove Park, connecting as many as 17 city neighborhoods in the process.

All that doesn’t come cheap; the total cost is an estimated $250 million to $300 million. But in recent weeks, Great Rivers Greenway has gotten two big monetary infusions for the project: a $4 million grant to pay for the path from Sarah Street to Grand Avenue and $15 million for the northern segment from Fairground Park to Forest Park.

The latter grant, announced Tuesday, comes from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s RAISE discretionary grant program.

Emma Klues, Great Rivers Greenways’ vice president of communications and outreach, explained on Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air that the grants are a “huge boost in the arm for the project.”

The Brickline Greenway (originally conceived as the “Chouteau Greenway”) has been talked about for decades, with planning in earnest underway since 2017. “We know it will take all kinds of different people working together to bring it to life,” Klues said. “Federal grants are a huge piece of that. … When we’re ready to go into construction, there will be a great source of funding there, from this federal grant.”

Listen: All about the Brickline Greenway

Development won’t begin in earnest for a few more years, and even after that it will take years to complete. But work will actually begin soon on the piece of it connected to the St. Louis City Stadium being built in Downtown West to house the city’s new Major League Soccer team.

“They are already in construction now,” she explained. “We’re coordinating with them so the piece of the Brickline heading along Market Street will go into construction here in the next few months.”

That segment of the paths runs from 20th and Market to Compton near the campus of Harris-Stowe State University. “That will be one segment that will probably move fairly quickly,” Klues said.

St. Louis on the Air” brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. The show is hosted by Sarah Fenske and produced by Alex Heuer, Emily Woodbury, Evie Hemphill and Lara Hamdan. Jane Mather-Glass is our production assistant. The audio engineer is Aaron Doerr.

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Sarah Fenske served as host of St. Louis on the Air from July 2019 until June 2022. Before that, she spent twenty years in newspapers, working as a reporter, columnist and editor in Cleveland, Houston, Phoenix, Los Angeles and St. Louis.