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Second Downtown Dog Park: Serra’s ‘Twain’

April 16, 2015 Downtown, Featured, Parks 9 Comments

Between the Arch grounds and the Gateway Mall downtown has an excess of public park land — land unlikely to ever see new buildings again. Still, some want to make more park lmd nearby — a dog park where the Cupples 7 warehouse once stood. See Temporary Dog Park On Former Cupples 7 Site Would Be Too Costly.

Meanwhile most blocks of the Gateway Mall go unloved. For a few years now I’ve been trying to build support for updating the block West of Citygarden — the block containing Richard Serra’s ‘Twain’.

ABOVE: Once you pass through one of the narrow openings the inside is spacious.
Once you pass through one of the narrow openings the inside is spacious.

Why turn a developable site into a dog & sculpture park when you can just fence in an existing sculpture? It’s already parkland, it needs more activity, it has a great location next to Citygarden. As a dog park a fence would be installed just inside new perimeter sidewalks, with at least two vestibule entry/exit points. Access would be limited to dog park members.

I still want to see a public restroom on one corner at 10th so the porta-potties at Citygarden can be retired. The restroom structure could be accessed from outside the dog park, with water for dogs on the inside.

— Steve Patterson


Currently there are "9 comments" on this Article:

  1. JZ71 says:

    Just add gates to the existing openings in the “sculpture” – brilliant!

    • No! That would destroy the sculpture. My idea is to fence the block.

      • Whadda Bout Katz? says:

        While many might chuckle at the thought of dogs relieving themselves on a sculpture that is far from beloved, I’ll have to downvote the thought of limiting access to Twain and a whole city block just to dog owners.

  2. KevinB says:

    Is it time again for the yearly “Serra’s ‘Twain’ still has public value” post?

    Take it down, plant some trees, create a public square bumped up to the courthouse (I’m imagining the layout/activity of Boston’s Trinity Square or extend Citygarden and call it a day. The Serra block is a wasteland and the sculpture at its center is a big reason for that.

  3. Tom of the Missouri says:

    Great idea, but not another dog park please!, Although I agree it would make a perfect one on many levels: 1) it is way underused, 2) the dog defecation would perfectly reflect how most people feel about it as a “work of art”., 3) dogs would no doubt love darting in and out of the metal playing hide and seek with their owners and other dogs. , 4) a dog park is a good use because using public funds and land for a dog park would be equally as stupid as using public land for this ridiculous piece of so called art, 5) etc., etc.

    Along with idea (2) the thing (i.e., the “art”), has long been used as a public restroom for humans. Long ago when I was a yute, I know many friends who often stopped there when they were clubbing downtown and needed a quick restroom. The liquid spilled on it did not seem to affect the rust already on it and the other stuff helped fertilize the grass. . I thus think this is still its highest and best use for the property until it can be removed for an extension of City Garden or better yet, a new office or residential tower. Just imagine the view of the arch from one’s living room.

  4. Kim says:

    I’d considered this spot to also be a good likely candidate for a dog park. People are using it to lunch in with blankets laid down, there’s the guy on the corner who has the spot for whatever he serves and gets a good lunch crowd. Tailgaters come and set up their chairs and tailgate. And dog owners bring their dogs to go to the bathroom already as do the homeless and others as Tom of Missouri mentions. I loved the St. Louis Art Museum exhibit that gave the history of this piece cause otherwise who knows what it really is or stands for. However, I don’t wish to fight the politics of getting that sculpture removed. But, Steve, if you can, I’ll be on the bleachers cheering for you.

  5. dick says:

    I love the Twain, and the bitching just makes me love it more. This is a DIY town, we make our own fun, if you don’t get that you will never understand st louis. I have found many creative uses for the space, from frisbee games to a smoking lounge. If you need your hand held cause you can’t figure out a way to have fun downtown GTFO.

  6. Kim says:

    To consider this lot for a dog park w/o getting rid of the Twain sculpture, I would recommend painting the sculpture in some sort of community effort to make this sculpture less forbidding. At the time it was created the openings were to allow the viewer on the inside of the sculpture to see specific structures that are no longer there, so it loses some of its appeal. It still works for the west opening (seeing the court house) and the east opening (seeing the Arch and the Old Courthouse). However, it probably makes more sense for City Garden to take over this lot and improve it. Good landscaping would work wonders for it.


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