ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – It’s seen as the first step toward transforming a moribund St. Louis riverfront into a bustling tourist destination.
The Great Rivers Greenway District and the National Park Service are teaming up to examine the potential environmental, cultural, and social impacts of their Central Riverfront project.
The key to kick-starting the effort, according to Great Rivers Greenway deputy director of administration Janet Wilding, is to lift Leonor K. Sullivan Boulvard above the floodline and create a bike trail between Chouteau and Biddle that will connect with the Greenway’s existing North Riverfront Trail.
But even if they do spruce it up and raise Leonor K. Sullivan above the floodline, one looks around today and sees very little commerce since the Admiral riverboat and its President Casino sailed off to the scrapyard and into history last year.
So why bother fixing up what currently appears to be a road to nowhere?
Wilding turns that argument on its head.
“The hope is if Leonor K. Sullivan is more usable for more days during the better weather (and not underwater like it was in ’93, ’08 and other times), that it will attract more businesses down there and maybe additional boats,” she tells KMOX News.
In other words…fix it and they will come.
This is part of a larger effort to turn the Arch Grounds into a busy tourist destination by adding new attractions and placing a lid over Interstate 70 for pedestrians to more easily access the riverfront.
That ambitious project has a planned finish line of October 2015 to mark the 50th anniversary of the Gateway Arch, but the clock is ticking — just over three years to go — with few visible signs of progress so far.