Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Strong Support for City to River's Vision as Design Reveal Nears

This spring, St. Louis was introduced to the five remaining design teams in the "Framing a Modern Masterpiece" competition, as well as their design philosophies and sample projects.  Just over three months later, the region eagerly awaits as the teams prepare to reveal their designs for the Arch grounds and surrounding areas to St. Louis and the world.  Aspiring to weave the region's greatest natural and manmade assets back into the urban core, the competition represents an incredibly exciting--and potentially transformational--moment in St. Louis' urban history.

On a parallel track, the volunteer effort known as City to River has built significant support for its vision of replacing the downtown portion of (soon-to-be-former) Interstate 70 with an at-grade, signature boulevard.  In addition to positive feedback from the design teams and significant media attention in recent months, the group just released an impressive and ever-growing list of owners, developers, advocacy groups, non-profits, and other key stakeholders which have expressly endorsed City to River's goal.  City to River has not only become a critical part of the conversation of what St. Louisans hope the competition achieves--it has led it.

Clearly, though, there is more to do, and City to River still needs all of the community support it can get. That means you!  Every person who cares about the outcome of this process--in other words, about the City, the Arch, and the River--needs to get involved.  Here's what you can do in the next week:

1.  Join C2R to Review and Discuss Designs.  On Wednesday, August 18th, City to River is hosting a casual get-together at the Schlafly Tap Room at 7:30 p.m.  The event will give the public an opportunity to celebrate the unveiling of the design concepts, discuss the designs in the context of City to River's vision, and learn how to help City to River with its overall goal of strengthening the connections between St. Louis and its riverfront.  Attendees also can stick around to play "STLStyle Trivia" with Randy Vines of and Matt Mourning of  This is a public event and all are welcome, so please join us for a fun night!

2.  Comment on Designs.  After the five design proposals are unveiled next Tuesday (August 17th), there will be a small window of opportunity--until August 23rd--for the public to weigh in with the competition jury.  This is the chance St. Louisans will have to tell the jury which designs they like and dislike, and why.  Take the opportunity to fill out a comment form at any of the final design competition exhibition sites, and also submit comments at the official competition website.

3.  Contact Political LeadersWe need to continue to let our political leaders know that removal of the downtown highway is what the St. Louis community wants and expects to see out of the competition.  Contact information for some of the key political leaders can be found on City to River's "What You Can Do" page.

4.  Spread the WordPlease continue to discuss City to River's proposal with friends, colleagues and acquaintances.  Direct people to City to River's website and blog, which contain lots of information and answers about expected traffic impacts, development potential, and other issues relating to the group's proposal.  Now is the critical time to spread the word as wide as possible--by e-mail, your blog, your Twitter account, your Facebook account, letters to the editor, etc. 

I hope that many St. Louisans choose to be active participants at this important moment.   If you have any questions or want to get more involved with City to River, please contact the group at  We hope to hear from you!

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