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Malcolm W. Martin Memorial Park Dedicated 10 Years Ago Today

June 18, 2015 Featured, Metro East, Parks Comments Off on Malcolm W. Martin Memorial Park Dedicated 10 Years Ago Today

Today is the 10th anniversary of one of my favorite parks in the region:

On June 7th, 2005, Gateway Center of Metropolitan St. Louis transferred title of the Gateway Geyser and the 34.1 acres of grounds, known as the Malcolm W. Martin Memorial Park, to Metro East Park and Recreation District (MEPRD). The Gateway Center had worked tirelessly for 40 years to protect the property from commercial development and with the transfer, was entrusting MEPRD with the task of bringing to life the dream of their founder and benefactor, Malcolm W. Martin, to transform the property into a true memorial park complementing the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial and Gateway Arch directly across the Mississippi River. On June 18th, 2005, the park was officially dedicated as the Malcolm W. Martin Memorial Park, in honor of the man whose passion, dedication and generosity made the project possible. (Metro East Parks & Recreation District)

The Gateway Geyser began operating a decade earlier, on May 27, 1995.

One of my best photos at Malcolm W. Martin Memorial Park was taken at 12:51pm on December 10, 2010. The overlook, left, gives you great views across the Mississippi River.
One of my best photos at Malcolm W. Martin Memorial Park was taken at 12:51pm on December 10, 2010. The overlook, left, gives you great views across the Mississippi River.
Malcolm W. Martin at the top of the overlook.
Malcolm W. Martin at the top of the overlook.
esl gateway geyser
esl gateway geyser
Hundreds gathered at Malcolm Martin Memorial Park in East St. Louis IL to watch the St. Louis fireworks on July 4th, 2011
Hundreds gathered at Malcolm Martin Memorial Park in East St. Louis IL to watch the St. Louis fireworks on July 4th, 2011
I introduced David to this park while we were engaged, We held our wedding here on Sunday June 8th 2014, officiated by our friend Chris Reimer.
I introduced David to this park while we were engaged, We held our wedding here on Sunday June 8th 2014, officiated by our friend Chris Reimer.

If you’ve never experienced this park I highly recommend a visit. Driving there isn’t the easiest, but there is parking once you arrive. The better way from downtown St. Louis wold be to walk or bike across the Eads Bridge. From Missouri or Illinois take MetroLink to the East Riverfront station then go south of the grain elevator.

If you can, try to catch the geyser:

April 15th through October 15th
Daily eruptions (each 10-minutes) at noon, 3PM, and 6PM
Each eruption is dependent on current wind and weather conditions.

Less than 5 years until the 25th anniversary of the geyser!

— Steve Patterson

 

Readers Opposed To Open/Concealed Carry In Public — Including At The STL Zoo

St. Louis Zoo
St. Louis Zoo

Not only are readers not having guns at the St. Louis Zoo, they really don’t like guns, concealed or openly carried, in public. Period.

Because the Zoo obtained a temporary restraining order, Jeffrey Smith, of Ohio, held his protest outside the Zoo.

He says that since the zoo is taxpayer funded he should have the right to carry his firearm on zoo property. But, the zoo says its ban is within Missouri law because it qualifies as a child care facility and educational institution. The zoo has a child care facility on site and hosts educational camps and field trips throughout the year.

Saturday, the group ‘Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America’ showed up to support the zoo’s firearm ban.

“This is no place for firearms. There are other places where I can understand they would be necessary. But in the zoo, for such a family friendly part of our community, it’s just really not necessary,” said Becky Morgan of Moms Demand Action. (KSDK)

Here are the results from the Sunday Poll:

Q: Yesterday a Ohio man wanted to enter the St. Louis Zoo openly carrying his gun, thoughts?

  1. I’m opposed to open carry & concealed carry in public — including at the STL Zoo 27 [55.1%]
  2. I’m opposed to open carry, but support concealed carry — but not at the STL Zoo 9 [18.37%]
  3. I’m opposed to open carry, but support concealed carry — including at the STL Zoo 5 [10.2%]
  4. I support concealed & open carry — including at the STL Zoo 3 [6.12%]
  5. Other: 2 [4.08%]
    1. I’m opposed to the ownership of guns at all by loony right-wing fascists
    2. what is everyone so scared of?
  6. TIE 1 [2.04%]
    1. I’m opposed to concealed carry, but support open carry — but not at the STL Zoo
    2. I support concealed & open carry — but not at the STL Zoo
    3. Unsure/ no answer
  7. I’m opposed to concealed carry, but support open carry — including at the STL Zoo 0 [0%]

More than half those who support concealed &/or open carry do not support it at the zoo.

Not sure about the 2nd “other” Who is that reader thinking is scared? Could apply to those who think they need to carry a gun into a zoo patronized largely by families or could apply to those of us who fear the possibility of the presence of a gun(s) presenting a very real danger. The latter is very real considering the event on the day of the poll: Five injured after gun fires accidentally during wedding at Waldorf Astoria.

I suspect we’ve not heard the last of this.

— Steve Patterson

 

As St. Louis Builds A Small Park Over A Highway…A Look At Dallas’ Klyde Warren Park

June 16, 2015 Featured, Parks, Travel 11 Comments

As work continues on the “lid” over the highway, now called I-44,  that divides downtown St. Louis from the Arch grounds I thought we should take a look at another recent park-over-highway project — Dallas’ Klyde Warren Park:

Klyde Warren Park creates an urban green space constructed over a section of the below-grade Woodall Rodgers Freeway, for 3 blocks between Pearl Street and St. Paul Street. It provides connectivity to the city’s flourishing Arts District from other neighborhoods, brings together cultural events and experiences, and serves as a central public gathering space for Dallas residents and visitors to enjoy.

Designed by landscape architecture firm, The Office of James Burnett, the park features flexible, pedestrian-oriented design, offering a mix of active and passive spaces, which include a children’s park, reading room, great lawn, restaurant, performance pavilion, fountain plaza, games area, urban dog park, and botanical garden around a sweeping pedestrian promenade.. A 6,000-square-foot (560 m2) restaurant and performance stage, designed by Thomas Phifer and Partners, is in the center of the park. In addition it provides jogging trails, a dog park, a children’s playground, and an area for games. (Wikipedia)

The idea of building a park over the recessed highway had been discussed since the highway was built in the 1960s. As an architecture student in the late 80s I visited I.M. Pei’s then-new Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center in 1989, thinking the location, next to this wide ditch, was awful. Though I’d been to Dallas since then, I hadn’t seen the Meyerson again until last month.

26 years after seeing the new building, I passed by Dallas' symphony hall on their free D-Link bus.
26 years after seeing the new building, I passed by Dallas’ symphony hall on their free D-Link bus. Click image for map link.

The new trees are now mature, but unfortunately I didn’t have enough juice in my wheelchair to get closer. Besides, I was about to cross over the highway and in a block be at my destination.

Looking right I saw the highway that had long been a divider, the other direction was the new Klyde Warren Park
Looking right I saw the highway that had long been a divider, the other direction was the new Klyde Warren Park. View from Pearl St
Normally the D-Lkink bus would've crossed through the park on Olive but they close it during busiest times -- otherwise it's open.
Normally the D-Lkink bus would’ve crossed through the park on Olive but they close it during busiest times — otherwise it’s open.
Vehicles & the D-Link bus are rerouted when Olive is closed, but their vintage trolley line gets to cut through.
Vehicles & the D-Link bus are rerouted when Olive is closed, but their M-Line vintage trolley gets to cut through for obvious reasons. Click image for more information on this line.
This is like he 'hallway' our Gateway Mall is supposed to have, right now we only have 2 blocks in Citygarden
This is like he ‘hallway’ our Gateway Mall is supposed to have, right now we only have 2 blocks in Citygarden
Like Citygarden, this park has a botanical side. It's also city-owned but managed by a foundation.
Like Citygarden, this park has a botanical side. It’s also city-owned but managed by a foundation.
It's nearly 80% bigger the Citygarden, has more diverse areas as a result.
It’s nearly 80% bigger the Citygarden, has more diverse areas as a result.
The upscale restaurant was packed the Saturday night I was there,
The upscale restaurant was packed the Saturday night I was there,
Here you see people at the upscale restaurant (left) and regular park patrons sitting at movable tables & chairs located throughout the park (right).
Here you see people at the upscale restaurant (left) and regular park patrons sitting at movable tables & chairs located throughout the park (right).
The Congress for the New Urbanism/CNU23 closing party was at the self-serve end of the building
The Congress for the New Urbanism/CNU23 closing party was at the self-serve end of the building
'Retrofitting Suburbia' author Ellen Dunham Jones invited me to join her to chat, we finally met the day before. We'd communicated via email for years.
‘Retrofitting Suburbia’ author Ellen Dunham Jones invited me to join her to chat, we finally met the day before. We’d communicated via email for years. Selfie without a selfie stick… Click image to view her 2010 TED Talk.
The restaurant building has restrooms accessed from the outside, but the capacity isn't enough &/or isn't visible enough. -- so porta-potties are added in a few parking spots.
The restaurant building has restrooms accessed from the outside, but the capacity isn’t enough &/or isn’t visible enough. — so porta-potties are added in a few parking spots.
Like St. Louis, they didn't think about how wheelchair users would reach the disabled john.
Like St. Louis, they didn’t think about how wheelchair users would reach the disabled john. #curb
The South block has a big open area where people can kick balls around, etc
The South block has a big open area where people can kick balls around, etc
The big open field
The big open play field
An area on the edge for parking, left, is used by many food trucks during events.
An area on the edge for parking, left, is used by many food trucks during events.
By planning ahead, the food tricks lined up here for hours can all plug into outlets rather than run noisy polluting generators. I was able to plug in  my chair, grab a bite, and people watch.
By planning ahead, the food tricks lined up here for hours can all plug into outlets rather than run noisy polluting generators. I was able to plug in my chair, grab a bite, and people watch.

Of course, a 5.2 acre park built over a highway didn’t come cheap:

The $110 million project was funded through a public-private partnership. Public support included $20 million in bond funds from the City of Dallas, $20 million in highway funds from the state and $16.7 million in stimulus funds. The balance of funding is through individual donors directly to the Woodall Rodgers Park Foundation.

Klyde Warren Park is owned by the City of Dallas and privately operated and managed by the private Woodall Rodgers Park Foundation. The Foundation studied great public parks across the country and plans to bring best practices to the park’s operations, programming and maintenance.

I’d say it’s worth every penny! Over the coming 25 years it’ll help mend areas long-separated because of the highway. I love that the foundation must also program the space, wish the Gateway Foundation had to do the same at Citygarden, and that 9th Street would remain open except for during events/weekends.

— Steve Patterson

 

 

 

Second Downtown Dog Park: Land Between Federal Courthouse & Stadium West Parking Garage

June 9, 2015 Downtown, Featured, Parks, Planning & Design Comments Off on Second Downtown Dog Park: Land Between Federal Courthouse & Stadium West Parking Garage

Today’s post continues a series on a 2nd dog park for downtown:

Today’s site is close to residents in the Cupples district and is also a good site for new construction. Unlike the others, this site is privately owned.

The NW corner of 9th & Clark is owned by Digital Realty as part of their 900 Walnut data center (right) The background park with patterned walkways is owned by the federal government, related to the federal courthouse across the street.
The NW corner of 9th & Clark is owned by Digital Realty as part of their 900 Walnut data center (right) The background park with patterned walkways is owned by the federal government, related to the federal courthouse across the street.
Another view showing the close proximity to the Cupples Station warehouses
Another view showing the close proximity to the Cupples Station warehouses

Fencing this square would better define the federally-owned public park and provide much-needed activity.  The owner might get a tax credit if it leased the land to a non-profit dog park. As you can see there are numerous locations downtown for a 2nd dog park.

— Steve Patterson

 

75th Anniversary of Aloe Plaza, Carl Milles’ ‘Meeting of the Waters’

May 11, 2015 Parks 17 Comments

I’d hoped there would be a big celebration over the weekend, continuing into today, to celebrate the 75th Anniversary of Aloe Plaza and ‘Meeting of the Waters’ by Swedish sculpture Carl Milles. A year ago I contacted 6th-ward Ald Christine Ingrassia, IKEA, and others about collaborating on an event. Nothing.

Carl Milles' 'Meeting of the Waters' is the focal point of Aloe Plaza
Carl Milles’ ‘Meeting of the Waters’ is the focal point of Aloe Plaza, dedicated 75 years ago today
Aloe Plaza across from Union Station cleared away "undesirable"  buildings, followed by decades more demolition creating the largely failed Gateway Mall
Aloe Plaza across from Union Station cleared away “undesirable” buildings, followed by decades more demolition creating the largely failed Gateway Mall

The Carl Milles wanted the title to be “Wedding of the Waters” but prudish attitudes didn’t think nude figures should be associated with weddings, so he agreed to change the name to “Meeting of the Waters.” Through Aloe Plaza has suffered from decades of neglect, the sculpture is still magnificent. Others agree, it was the top vote getter in yesterday’s poll:

Q: What are your two favorite public fountain/water features in the City of St. Louis? Pick two — one can be added

  1. Meeting of the Waters — Aloe Plaza 13 [25.01%]
  2. Grand Basin — Forest Park 11 [21.16%]
  3. Splash fountain — Citygarden 8 [15.38%]
  4. Lily pond — Tower Grove Park 7 [13.46%]
  5. World’s Fair Pavilion Fountain — Government Hill in Forest Park 4 [7.69%]
  6. TIE 3 [5.77%]
    1. Kiener Memorial/Runner Statue — Kiener Plaza
    2. Waterfall — Citygarden
  7. TIE  1 [1.92%]
    1. May Amphitheater Waterfall — Kiener Plaza
    2. Fountain Park fountain — Fountain Park
    3. Unsure/no answer
  8. TIE 0 [0%]
    1. Clock Tower fountain — Saint Louis University
    2. Grand & Lindell — Saint Louis University
    3. Waterfall — Old Post Office Plaza
    4. Wading pool — Tower Grove Park
    5. Circular Fountain — Benton Park
    6. Wading pool & spray — St. Louis Place Park

Two answers were added for fountains listed in the poll (Aloe Plaza & Grand Basin), they were added to the totals above. The Grand Basin nearly beat out “Meeting of the Waters”, which is understandable.

The Grand Basin, Forest Park
The Grand Basin, Forest Park

The size & proportions of the basin are very pleasing. From various angles, close up or far away it is captivating.

— Steve Patterson

 

 

 

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