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Poll: Great Rivers Greenway Bought Laclede’s Landing Property, Plans Park. Thoughts?

March 2, 2014 Downtown, Featured, Sunday Poll 16 Comments

Last week the Great Rivers Greenway District announced it purchased property in the Laclede’s Landing area:

Feb. 27, 2014 (St. Louis) – With the transformation of the Riverfront and Gateway Arch grounds underway, the Great Rivers Greenway District is pleased to announce the purchase of a historic property that will provide a safer and more accessible connection between Laclede’s Landing and the revitalized Riverfront.

The lot is situated directly north of the Eads Bridge between First and Second streets on Laclede’s Landing. It is the site of the former Switzer Licorice Building, which was demolished in 2007.

“We are very pleased to have acquired this property,” says Susan Trautman, Executive Director of Great Rivers Greenway District. “Not only will it provide a universally accessible connection to the Arch grounds, it has the potential to create larger connections across the region and spur future development.”

The District aims to transform the property into a park or other compatible development offering food, restrooms, or other services to enhance the visitor experience while providing a seamless transition between the revitalized Gateway Arch grounds and Laclede’s Landing.

“The site offers endless possibilities for connection,” says Trautman. “It is steps away from the Eads Bridge Metrolink station, four blocks south of the North Riverfront Trail, and around the corner from the new trails being built on the Arch Grounds and along the Riverfront. It is fitting that the ‘front door’ of this property is a soaring arch beneath the historic Eads Bridge.”

The District purchased the property from St. John’s Bank for $350,000. The property’s appraised value was $390,000. 

Here’s the location:

The site of the former Switzer Building, recently purchased by Great Rivers Greenway, is shown with the red X. Click to view in Google Maps.
The site of the former Switzer Building, recently purchased by Great Rivers Greenway, is shown with the red X. Click to view in Google Maps.

This purchase has sparked debate. Some argue we have enough park space, especially with the Arch grounds on the other side of the Eads Bridge. Others are fine with the purchase, but they want to see new infill construction. Still others have suggested Laclede’s Landing is dead, so why bother? The poll question is in the right sidebar.

— Steve Patterson

  • JZ71

    Several thoughts . . . Personally, I think the Eads Bridge is nearly as impressive as the Arch, so giving it some “breathing room” and visibility is an interesting concept, even though it means destroying its original/current context (including removing the existing parking garage to the south). That said, “make it a park” is an all-too-common response that isn’t much different than NIMBY. Combine that with the reality that “trailhead” usually equals parking lot, along with the simple laws of supply and demand, and I can easily see this site becoming just another pay parking lot that ends up being a “cash cow”/huge revenue source for Great Rivers Greenway District.

  • Jean

    Being an older downtown resident, I wouldn’t mind seeing a park with some sort of playground. There’s really no activities for families with kids that visit the area. Except for CityGarden, which really isn’t a playground.

  • dempster holland

    I still believe that removing the north parking garage is the dumbest part of the arch “improvements.” That
    garage enabled you to drive your car right to the garage, take an elevator to the top, and be a short walk
    from the arch. Now you will have to go at least two blocks away, and walk up steps instead of using an
    elevator. Not elderly-friendly, or does that make any difference to the “millenials”?

    • Adam

      dempster, give me a break. how exactly are millennials responsible for the north garage going away? take a look at CAR and tell me there’s anybody under 50 calling the shots on this project. enough with ageist bullsh*t.

      • dempster holland

        Generally speaking, the millennials are very self-centered, and do not seem to concern
        themselves with the problems of people other than their own. To my knowledge. with
        all the comment about the arch improvement and memorial drive etc, no one ever
        raised the point I made about the disadvantages of removing the north parking garage

        • wump

          like you! are you one of them?

        • Adam

          “Generally speaking, the millennials are very self-centered, and do not seem to concernthemselves with the problems of people other than their own.”

          sorry, but “generally speaking” your “knowledge” doesn’t mean shit. either cite some evidence (and, no, anecdotes are not evidence for a general trend in a population of millions) or stop embarrassing yourself.

          “To my knowledge. with all the comment about the arch improvement and memorial drive etc, no one ever raised the point I made about the disadvantages of removing the north parking garage”

          your tacit assumption that only millennials contributed comments to the NPS is not only baseless but really really hard to believe. but more importantly it’s irrelevant. if non-millennials DIDN’T comment, where the hell were they? and if non-millennials DID submit comments, why didn’t they bring up your oh-so-important issue? in other words, how are non-millennials not equally responsible, and equally selfish, in their apathy? where the hell were YOU with your point, dempster, when comments were being accepted?

          with all due respect, dempster, you’re a hypocrite.

          • dempster holland

            Thank you for your comments

          • Adam

            i apologize for the strong words but everybody and the kitchen sink is jumping on the anti-millennial/anti-hipster bandwagon these days without giving it any critical thought. “hipster” and “millennial” have become these condescending, catch-all buzz words for denigrating an entire population based on age. you can’t know that “most millennials are selfish” any more than i can know that “most boomers are materialistic” or “most of the greatest are racists”. let’s just desist with the generalizations.

          • dempster holland

            point well-taken

        • Adam

          and for the record, no, i’m not a millennial. i’m 36.

  • samizdat

    “…historic property…” Huh? As in, What the F? “…potential to create larger connections across the region and spur future development.” Wow. I’d love to see her contortionist act, ‘cos if she can twist the English language around to put this much lipstick on the pig of this idea of a park, she must be quite the talented gymnast. You know, considering the outrageous price tag for a vacant lot, in a moribund entertainment district, I half think Great Rivers was pressured into buying this property, because this is absolutely the stupidest idea for this lot I can think of. But then again, St. Louis really needs another pocket park, no? I’m glad I didn’t vote for the last funding scheme. I would surely look the fool.

  • So this will be a trailhead…four blocks away from another trailhead (Rootwad Park). Ohhhh-kay…

    I have a lot of issues with this use, and particularly the way that the City+Arch+River plan continues to pick away at our City proper. First, allocating more passive park space to the NPS by removing northbound Memorial Drive, then allocating even more passive park space to NPS by removing the north garage. Then handing over, you guessed it, EVEN MORE park space by removing Washington Avenue entirely (our ONLY uninterrupted east-west connection to the downtown riverfront, mind you) in favor of shrubbery and walking paths.

    Now, add in the proposed garage(s) further diminishing Laclede’s Landing’s historic status and this new trailhead (read: green space, benches, public toilets and an unmanned brochure center with soda/snack machine) and you’ve effectively halved the remaining buildable land assets the district still has. I’d also suggest that there is no way that GRG or NPS or CAR doesn’t now purchase the adjacent property between 1st and LKS.

    I will admit that it will likely be a cool connection between the Arch and the Landing via the Collins Alley arch under the Eads. I’ve always imagined using that (or even the main one at LKS) for activities/events similar to those done under the Archway at DUMBO in New York…

    Link to DUMBO archway pictures… http://bit.ly/1f2RNix

    • dempster holland

      Closing Washington ave east of Memorial drive is another example of how the arch plan reduces
      access to the Mississippi

      • Uh huh. I mentioned that one too.

        For City+Arch+River claiming to improve connections for each, they’re sure taking an odd approach to it (and I didn’t even include the new highway infrastructure and on/off ramps!).

        • guest

          Does anyone else think having traffic entering into the depressed lanes off of ramps is creating a serious accident prone zone?

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