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Why Don't We Hang at the Arch More? 5 Amazing Ideas to Get St. Louis to the Gateway

Categories: History

arch.jpg
Dougtone on Flickr
We should go here more.
A particularly tech-savvy park ranger is behind a growing online conversation over attracting more people to the riverfront for events at the Gateway Arch.

"National Park Service wants you to come hang out at the park," posts law enforcement ranger Coty Stief on Reddit. "What kind of programs would you like to see us host to accomplish that?"

The simple question drew more than a dozen quality, enthusiastic suggestions from Reddit users -- who are more famous for using the anonymous information-sharing forum for snide, snarky remarks -- including concerts, sporting events, movie nights, food competitions and more.

There's just one problem, says Ann Honious, spokesperson for the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial: Any events held at the Arch must connect to its federal mission of celebrating St. Louis' role in westward expansion.

"We have a great urban park, but because of our purpose and mission, we are restricted in some ways in how we use it," Honious tells the Daily RFT. "It is one of our primary concerns of the park, just getting people to understand what opportunities are here for visitors beyond just going to the top of the Arch."

The parks service already organizes several events on the Arch grounds each year.

archyoga.jpg
Paul Sableman, Flickr
Yoga under the Arch
Last year's Gateway to the Stars astronomy program drew 700 stargazers. Yoga under the Arch -- which fits the park's mission of furthering health in families -- drew 1,730 people last summer. For three years, the park has held a Night at the Museum evening taking families on a living tour of St. Louis' history. Last year's event drew more than 600 people.

But those attendance numbers don't match the enthusiasm and excitement St. Louisans have for the iconic monument that's come to represent the pride they have in their city.

And that's where social media comes in.

The National Parks Service can't advertise or market it's events because it's a federal entity, so it relies on press releases, a mediocre Facebook page, online calendars and word of mouth to attract visitors. In a world where email marketing and hashtags rule all, that makes the park's marketing approach distinctly vintage.

"It's become increasingly clear that our main issue is notifying the public about events that are happening in and around the park," says ranger Stief, who serves on the Arch's social media team, on Reddit. "I'm just an employee that wants to get people involved with the park and wants to find out how to do that."

We couldn't agree more. To that end, here are five ideas for crazy-fun events with a tie back to the mission of honoring St. Louis' past and keeping families healthy.

Continue reading for five event ideas suggested by Reddit.


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35 comments
Susan Wolters
Susan Wolters

I park at Shrewsbury and take the Metrolink downtown, when I go.

Axl Joel Fitz
Axl Joel Fitz

I'll tell you exactly why I no longer go the the Arch: Parking tickets and break-ins. I used to drive down in the summertime at 6ish after work with a buddy. We'd throw a Frisbee or football or baseball, etc for an hour, only to find a $30 parking ticket waiting for us on the riverfront road. Screw that. I can play for free a block from my house. Get a clue St. Louis...sheesh. Revenue hungry a$$ holes. Also, I know of several friends and out of towners who have parked on the riverfront, only to have their windows smashed and cars cleaned out. Screw that too. If you want people to go downtown then you have to protect against criminals and thugs and make people feel it's safe. Joel Fitz

joelfitz80
joelfitz80

I'll tell you exactly why I no longer go the the Arch: Parking tickets. I used to drive down in the summer at 6 after work with a buddy. We'd throw a Frisbee or football or baseball, etc for an hour, only to find a $30 parking ticket waiting for us on the riverfront road. Screw that. I can play for free a block from my house. Get a clue St. Louis...sheesh. Revenue hungry a$$ holes.

Joel Fitz

lastressie
lastressie

It's great to have yet another place in STL to be a part of the crowd, but the fabulous opportunity to walk in the grass under the trees away from the concrete of downtown is also good for the soul. Standing on the overlooks watching the river traffic is mesmerizing even if it is but a short respite from the traffic, noise and the over shadowing of high rises of the city.

JamesMadison
JamesMadison topcommenter

Give local bands a venue to play open air concerts. Not blasting all of downtown with their music, but small local areas where they come to jam and sing.

Next have events for kids to run and play. That brings families.

smdrpepper
smdrpepper topcommenter

If you want to bring people back to the Arch grounds, how about bringing back the waterfront?  There used to be so much down there to have fun at, and its all gone.  Back in September when I was up, I took a quick trip over there and its just depressing.  The casino is the only thing there and THAT monstrosity took over every good thing that was in Lacledes Landing.  St Louis was built because of the river and there is nothing there to show it other than a bunch of cobblestones and a couple of helicopters.

Deb Woods
Deb Woods

I don't live in the Suburbs. But I also don't go Downtown. And based on the view from The Peabody Window on Ch 4 neither does anyone else - absent a sporting event. It doesn't matter what you build down there - Ballpark Village, new Arch grounds - people won't go down there until the crime problem is solved. You have 2 blocks that are good then 3 that are sketchy & dangerous. As long as that is true - you can have Downtown STL.

Thee Lovingcup
Thee Lovingcup

What's the view like in the suburbs? Your neighbors backyard with dog shitting/barking in the morning?

Kelly Fischer Hutchison
Kelly Fischer Hutchison

These are amazing ideas. To address Steve M. No murder on the grounds. Their very own police force prevents that. Thew, we have had a ton of concerts at the park, right under the Arch but can't wait to check out forecastle...

Deb Woods
Deb Woods

I love people who pretend Downtown STL doesn't have a crime problem. I bet they believe ol Bankrupt McGee is the salvation of the North Side too. And people get shot in the head leaving Mansion House Apartments parking garage - in broad daylight. I think I will have to pass on that offer :-)

Ken Hood
Ken Hood

The view across river really Offers nothing. Course looking over your shoulder You see nothing but a worn Out old city fighting to stay Alive. A shit hole...

mike_h63144
mike_h63144

Lindsay, please spend 30 seconds on Google in the future. It is not "National PARKS Service" it's "National Park Service".

Steve Mincer
Steve Mincer

Ohhh! An Internet tough guy. Don't see too many of them anymore.

Jeff Willett
Jeff Willett

I'm afraid of idiot trolls...like yourself.

Steve Mincer
Steve Mincer

I said blow hard liberals...like yourself.

Jesda Ulati
Jesda Ulati

Because the view across the river blows.

Bushey Tina
Bushey Tina

As a member of the Gateway Kite Club, I have heard from several people that kite flying on arch grounds has been a way to get park rangers to threaten your arrest for a number of years now. Generally, they cite some vague security risk on federal property. It has been pointed out that flying is allowed on the national mall, but STL rangers will not allow it.

Thee Lovingcup
Thee Lovingcup

You are afraid of Liberals? That's pretty weak sauce

Shane Coats
Shane Coats

The cruisers in the summer are a huge problem, because a certain segment of society don't know how to act!!!!!!

Steve Mincer
Steve Mincer

mostly afraid of liberal blowhards like yourself.

Thee Lovingcup
Thee Lovingcup

How many murders happen at the Arch during Fair StL Steve? Or Live On The Levee when it was going on? It's a National Park, Obama signed a law that allows conceal carry in National Parks, Forests and Historic places... what are you really afraid of?

Shane Coats
Shane Coats

Open up the cobblestone parking and re-vamp the landing!

Thee Lovingcup
Thee Lovingcup

I've never had a problem parking on the street close enough to walk.

Thee Lovingcup
Thee Lovingcup

B/c there are no concerts there, and no infrastructure to do so down the line either. Check out THE FORECASTLE FESTIVAL to see how a riverfront can become alive.

Steve Mincer
Steve Mincer

the car break-ins and murder tends to keep people away.

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