Dear City*Arch*River Jurors:
City to River is an all-volunteer group of St. Louisans that has come together to promote the incorporation of a grade-level, urban boulevard into the successful redesign of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial and its immediate surroundings.
City to River believes that the convergence of efforts to redesign this iconic American space and the construction of a new Mississippi River bridge just north of downtown offers St. Louis a once-in-a-century opportunity to reclaim its urban core by removing the elevated and depressed interstate highway lanes that currently divorce the city from its raison d’etre: the riverfront.
Other design features will certainly be critical to successfully realizing the project’s goals. We believe, though, that replacing the 1.4-mile stretch of Interstate 70 between the Poplar Street Bridge and the new Mississippi River Bridge is necessary both to maximize their benefit and to achieve the competition’s stated objectives. Only a boulevard will truly “catalyze increased vitality in the St. Louis Region” by increasing the value and desirability of underdeveloped land along the present Interstate corridor, “weave connections and transitions from the city and Arch grounds” by reestablishing the warp and weft of downtown’s street grid, “mitigate against the impact of transportation systems” by calming traffic and humanizing the streetscape, thus “creat[ing] a welcoming and accessible environment”.
City to River is in the midst of meeting with the design teams, local leaders, private developers, and citizens groups in the region to promote our vision, and to date we have met with all but unanimous support for the boulevard concept. We are confident that our organization, while unaffiliated with any moneyed or politically-driven interests, represents the will of a substantial portion of our region.
Your critical and decisive selection of a winning design later this summer will shape St. Louis for decades to come. We encourage you to visit our website, www.citytoriver.org, and welcome you to contact us if we can answer any questions it may generate. Finally, if your summer brings you through St. Louis in the weeks between now and the competition deadline, it would be our pleasure to share our vision of this important space with you in person.
City to River