Re-Making of the Arch Grounds - Time to Weigh-In is Now

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Got a heads up late yesterday from Tom Bradley, superintendent of the Arch grounds here in St. Louis, that there are only six more days for the public to weigh-in on the National Park Service's proposed changes to the land surrounding the Arch.

To view the four potential master plans for the site, click here and go to the "Alternatives" tab. To comment on the alternatives, use the form here.

The park service has already identified "Alternative 3" as its favored choice. 
 
In a few words, "Alternative 3" calls for an international design competition similar to the one held in 1947 when the Arch was first conceptualized by Eero Saarinen. Potential designers would be asked to submit ideas for enhancing "the visitor experience." This means the grounds could be substantially made over, as the competition would allow for proposals that include new above-ground buildings on the site.     

According to Bradley, the park service is likely to go with the competition if folks don't make their opinions heard now. "If people like what they see so far, that's great," he says in a statement. "But if they think we've really missed the mark on something, or think aspects from one alternative work better with another alternative or even think we should have an entirely different alternative, we need to hear that now."

Of course, major changes are still a long way off. Private funding would be needed to sponsor the design competition.

And as of late last year it was unclear how much support the park service could count on from one major anticipated donor, the Danforth Foundation. Previously, the foundation was working on its own plan to remake the Arch grounds. The scheme caused a bit of controversy, which I chronicled in this November 17, 2008, story, "Shaky Grounds."

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