Brett Blume (@brettblumekmox)By Brett Blume

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – Hundreds of area residents turned out Thursday night to offer their input on the future of the Chouteau Greenway.

“We’re envisioning a series of unique experiences and the ability to connect many of the great cultural institutions, assets and especially the neighborhoods,” explained Susan Trautman, CEO for Great Rivers Greeway, which is overseeing the project.

Great Rivers Greenway received a total of 19 team submissions during the first stage of the competition, and Thursday’s event was an opportunity for the recently named four finalists to show off some of their concepts for the corridor, which would connect Forest Park with the Arch grounds and riverfront.

“We think about using art, culture and history,” according to Trautman. “Using the industry and the urban fabric of St. Louis to connect it together and create a sequence of experiences.”

Experiences that she said would help attract and retain city residents and businesses.

chouteau2 Work On Chouteau Greenway Moves To Phase 2

(KMOX/Brett Blume)

Since September, Great Rivers Greenway has gathered community input on the project in a variety of ways.

A survey taken by more than 2,000 regional residents suggested a collective desire for a project that’s inclusive on several levels.

People have asked that the greenway create a physical common ground, and that the process and implementation create opportunities for everyone to enjoy it.

In short, Trautman said, people want “to be able to move freely from Forest Park to the Arch Grounds, to the river, to explore Grand Center, Cortex, and all of the great institutions along the way.”

Area residents on Saturday will have the opportunity to help create a mural for the Chouteau Greenway project, in partnership with Freedom Arts & Education Center.

It happens from 9 a.m. to noon at Harris-Stowe State University’s William L. Clay Professional Development Center, 3026 Laclede Ave.

While the project is now in Phase 2, Trautman cautioned not to expect anything concrete to be in place for the next three to five years.

But she promised it will be worth the wait.

“Yes, we envision there would be a pathway but way more than the usual ‘ride your bike down to the park’ experience,” Trautman said. “Really a series of outdoor rooms and places where people could play, could experience art or theater or programming. We know the winning designer can come up with some really amazing ideas and concepts that we can take to fruition.”

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