ST. LOUIS- The National Park Service announced today that McCarthy Castle JV I of St. Louis, Mo., was awarded a $13.450 million contract to complete the Gateway Arch South Grounds project, the first CityArchRiver 2015 project on Jefferson National Expansion Memorial grounds. The construction project, encompassing the southern 26 acres of the Gateway Arch grounds is funded by Proposition P, which was approved by voters in 2013. Great Rivers Greenway is serving as the steward of the taxpayers’ investment in this project.
The design of the South Grounds was developed by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, with private funding through the CityArchRiver 2015 Foundation. The grounds will be transformed to provide a better experience for all visitors through increased accessibility and sustainability. Projects in this area will include renovated reflecting ponds, new accessible pathways from the Gateway Arch to the riverfront, soil replacement across the entire site, tree replacement and landscaping improvements. Construction is expected to begin in mid to late September.
“We are excited to have the first construction of the CityArchRiver project on the Gateway Arch grounds beginning soon,” said Tom Bradley, superintendent of Jefferson National Expansion Memorial. “This is an exciting time for the park and for the City of St. Louis. This project will make the national park more sustainable and accessible for all visitors.”
As quality soil is the foundation for a successful landscape, almost 18 football fields of blended soil will be distributed across the entirety of the Arch grounds. The existing ash trees along the processional walkways of the grounds, which are threatened by poor soil and drainage conditions and the invasive Emerald Ash Borer, will be removed. Great Rivers Greenway and CityArchRiver 2015 Foundation are in active discussions with vendors about reuse solutions for the ash trees. These ash trees will be replaced by 900 London Planetrees, which are currently being cared for in a New Florence, Mo., nursery. The London Planetrees will join other shrubs and plants to create a beautiful and more sustainable landscape on the grounds. The project will also address erosion control and slope stabilization, as well as security, lighting and utility improvements.
New pathways along the east slope of the park will provide accessibility by guiding visitors easily down to the riverfront as an alternative to using the grand staircase. This project component will include enhanced amenities for visitors such as bike racks, drinking fountains, and benches and it will link to a dedicated biking and walking path that will eventually travel the perimeter of the entire park.
The Gateway Arch will remain open to the public during this project. Construction fences will guide users from the temporary main entrance to the park at Walnut Street through the construction area to the Arch entrance. Visitors are welcome to enjoy the Arch and are encouraged watch the progress throughout construction. You can keep up to date on construction and how to access the Arch at www.cityarchriver.org/construction.
About Jefferson National Expansion Memorial: The Gateway Arch and the Old Courthouse are part of Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, located on the riverfront in downtown St. Louis. The Gateway Arch is open daily from 8 am to 10 pm, except during the winter months, when hours are 9 am to 6 pm, from Labor Day through Memorial Day weekend. The Old Courthouse is open daily year-round from 8 am to 4:30 pm. The Gateway Arch and Old Courthouse are closed Thanksgiving, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Most programs are FREE of charge and open to the public. Programs and events at the park are made possible by the generous support from our cooperating association, Jefferson National Parks Association, and Bi-State Development Agency. For more information about programs and events, please call 877.982.1410 or go to gatewayarch.com.
About Great Rivers Greenway: Great Rivers Greenway is making St. Louis an even better place to live by connecting our region with a network of greenways so you can be active, get where you need to go and enjoy being outside. Great Rivers Greenway is the public organization created in 2000 by a vote of the people of St. Louis City, St. Louis County and St. Charles County. The long term vision for St. Louis is called the River Ring, where more than 600 miles of trails connect communities, street bike routes and transit, and our region’s great rivers and parks together in a network of greenways. For more info, visit www.greatriversgreenway.org.
About CityArchRiver 2015 Foundation: The CityArchRiver 2015 Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with a mission to ensure that the Gateway Arch, its grounds, neighboring public space, and attractions will be a vital, welcoming, well-supported resource to the community and nation for generations to come. The Foundation works in partnership with the National Park Service, Missouri Department of Transportation, Great Rivers Greenway District, City of St. Louis, Bi-State Development Agency, and many other organizations. For more information, visit www.cityarchriver.org.