ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – Simon & Garfunkel sang about the joys of “kicking down the cobblestones” while simultaneously “feelin’ groovy”.
But Laclede’s Landing Community Improvement District president John Clark knows that many visitors are feeling less than groovy as they try to navigate the bumpy streets by car, much less walking in 5-inch heels on a Saturday night bar-hop.
“Most visitors love ’em,” Clark tells KMOX News. “But people that work down here, they might think a different way because they have to traverse them every day. The problem with these cobblestones is that they were designed for horse-and-carriage and not 18-wheelers.”
That’s why a five-month-long project is just getting underway to smooth things out as much as possible.
The price tag is around $1.3 million with funding courtesy of the now-defunct federal stimulus act along with a local matching grant.
Clark says it won’t involve doing away with the original mid-1800’s stones, but pulling them up by hand, one-by-one, and resettling them on a more stable base.
“We’re going to go thirty inches down, replace all the sub-strate, put a visqueen in,” he explains, “which will better support the cobblestone. It’s a process that’s done all over Europe.”
Why not just use 21st century technology to pave over the bumpy stones and create a smooth, modern driving surface?
Basically, according to Clark, they can’t do that.
“If you want to get federal tax dollars you must keep (the cobblestones)”, he says. “They’re historic, and they are part of the fabric of what this neighborhood is.”
Repairs are expected to wrap up by early 2014.