Great Rivers Greenway’s next project will aim to connect Forest Park to the Arch
By Sara Hardin
St. Louis is on its way to becoming more navigable than ever with Great Rivers Greenway’s next project, which will aim to connect the Forest Park and Washington University areas to downtown St. Louis and the Arch.
The results of an international design competition will decide the ultimate look of the new Chouteau Greenway, the first segment of which includes a MetroLink station currently under construction at the Cortex Innovation District. In the meantime, Great Rivers Greenway is working to build a Citizen Advisory Committee (CAC) of 40 members to help guide them through the process of envisioning and selecting a design that will most effectively benefit the greenway’s future users and surrounding community.
“The work that we do is for the community and about the community,” said Susan Trautman, CEO of Great Rivers Greenway. “Without knowing what people want or what’s important to them in a project, we don’t have good information and we can’t make an informed decision. When you’re building a greenway or a trail, you’re literally working in people’s backyards and in their neighborhoods and you have to respect that. To do it well, you need to know what’s important to them.”
Prospective CAC members can apply via the Great Rivers Greenway website through Sept. 8. To ensure that the committee represents as many perspectives as possible, the goal during recruiting is to ultimately build a team of people who will work well together and will end up using the greenway in different ways.
“What’s interesting is that there’s not an ideal candidate because our goal is to have it be balanced and representative of the area and of the region as a whole,” explained Emma Klues, Vice President of Communications and Outreach with Great Rivers Greenway. “I think the ‘ideal’ candidate is someone who is willing to share their experience and have an open mind to listen to others so that they can collaborate on forming a vision that will benefit the community. It’s really about a mix of different people who live, work, play or learn in that area and they use it very differently, which is what we hope to end up with.”
Various resources will be made available by Great Rivers Greenway to the CAC so that each member can attend every meeting, regardless of circumstances that may otherwise prevent them from participating.
“We want to make sure that anyone can participate on the Citizen Advisory Committee and there aren’t barriers to participation,” said Klues. “We’re wanting to make sure that we’re being as inclusive as possible to really recognize these volunteers for their time and effort. This is an important part of our process, so we want to be sure that we provide these resources to anyone who needs them, whether that be transportation to get to a meeting or childcare during the meetings, and we also provide food at the meetings.”
The vision of the Chouteau Greenway is made possible by a public-private partnership. The efforts of Great Rivers Greenway and the project’s seven partners will ultimately result in a network of trails and community space that will connect St. Louis and its different neighborhoods like never before.
“There are seven partners, from major institutions to business developers and other parks agencies,” said Trautman. “Seven partners have come together collectively with one vision, are willing to work hard to make that happen, believe so powerfully that connecting Forest Park to the Arch will transform St. Louis, and are willing to put their own money into it to make it happen. That’s a big statement. We’re really proud that we’re trusted and they believe that the district can help guide that. It’s a great testimony to what can be done in St. Louis if people work together. Collaboration is an amazing tool when you harness it and you get people to come together around a great idea.”
“We really want the Chouteau Greenway to be an amazing, transformational connection where people can not only get from Point A to Point B, but also a really neat place to be in and of itself, something that’s more than just a basic trail,” said Klues.
To learn more about the Chouteau Greenway project, or to apply to be a member of the Citizen Advisory Committee, visit GreatRiversGreenway.org/Chouteau.
CUTLINE: Submitted photos
Cover-Green1 This artist’s rendering shows what the completed first segment of Chouteau Greenway, which includes a MetroLink station, will look like. This segment is currently under construction at the Cortex Innovation District.
Cover-Green2 This map shows the project area for the Chouteau Greenway, the Great Rivers Greenway’s next project, which will aim to connect the Forest Park and Washington University areas to downtown St. Louis and the Arch.