More than 4,700 people from across the region joined CityArchRiver project partners to celebrate the renovation and reimagining of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial with a community celebration called “Spring into Your Park.” Throughout 2016, most of the park areas have opened to the public in stages. The Saturday, April 8 event served as the official grand opening celebration with remarks and a ribbon cutting as well as live music, Laclede’s Landing food and drink vendors, kids activities, lawn games, and more.
CityArchRiver partners along with state and local elected officials, including Missouri State Treasurer Eric Schmitt, Mayor Francis Slay, and St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger, shared brief remarks followed by a ribbon cutting in the park’s Explorer’s Garden, located within the newly renovated North Gateway.
“People need to come back down and be part of the Arch grounds again,” said Eric Moraczewski, executive director of the CityArchRiver Foundation. “Traditionally, people think of the Arch as the Arch itself, but this is a great place to come hang out with your families in a park setting.”
The event led up to the GO! St. Louis Marathon on Sunday April 9, which started and finished on the riverfront for the first time in its history. Leonor K. Sullivan Blvd.—raised and renovated as part of the CityArchRiver project—remained “high and dry” despite rising river levels.
The renovation design was developed by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates with private funding through the CityArchRiver Foundation. Construction on the renovated park landscape work is funded by the National Park Service, Great Rivers Greenway and the CityArchRiver Foundation. Great Rivers Greenway is overseeing funding provided by Proposition P, a sales tax approved by voters in April 2013 that provides funding for improvements to the Arch grounds and surrounding areas.