The National Park Service has made public a “General Service Plan” for the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial.
That doesn’t sound like a big deal, but it is. It is the first, and maybe the most important step, towards making the grounds surrounding the Arch as iconic as the catenary itself, and towards connecting Downtown to the Arch grounds and Riverfront.
It is terrific news for St. Louis, the entire region, and for everyone - everywhere - who treasures the Arch and its grounds, our riverfront, and the role of Westward expansion as a defining American experience.
Many people and groups deserve our thanks for getting us here. Of them, I especially single out the following:
I thank the NPS for its careful and quick consideration of a complex issue - seeking and listening to input from people across the city and the region. And I want to thank the Danforth Foundation, which took the early lead on this matter. Walter Metcalfe, Bob Archibald, and Peter Raven - have been wise and useful advisers to me.
In the end, there’s nothing more democratic, exciting, and (yes!) satisfying than a competition that will challenge the smartest and most creative designers. That’s the same process that brought us the Arch in the first place. Like the St. Louisans who built the Arch, we should have the courage and audacity to do something great.
I’m excited to see what’s next.