Great Rivers Greenway announced today that it has acquired 11.826 acres of undeveloped property along the Mississippi riverfront in north St. Louis at the original Chain of Rocks Bridge for $1.25 million. The property had originally been intended as the site of a new casino and hotel.
The opportunity to acquire the site from the Koman family, developers of the proposed casino and hotel, arose when the Missouri Gaming Commission selected a different site for the state's 13th and final gaming license last month. A prior agreement between Great Rivers Greenway and the Koman family spelled out the conditions of the property's acquisition by Great Rivers Greenway, if the casino license were awarded elsewhere.
Great Rivers Greenway has been trying to purchase properties near the historic bridge, which is now part of the North Riverfront Trail, since 2002. It acquired a parcel adjacent to the Koman property from the City of St. Louis Water Division in 2003. The newly acquired property, which has been used with the Koman Family's permission for public functions in the past, will eventually be used to provide greater public access and additional amenities at the bridge and trailhead. A planning process involving neighbors and the major public and non-profit stakeholders will begin next year.
"Great Rivers Greenway is very excited to be able to purchase this land and secure its public use. We are very grateful to William Koman, Sr., Jim Koman, and the family for their generosity and cooperation to make this happen so quickly. Our plan now is for a very public planning process to begin next year. We hope it eventually leads to some form of development that celebrates the nature and character of the site, its history and provides a safe, secure and positive family experience," said Susan Trautman, executive director of Great Rivers Greenway.