Thursday, September 17, 2009

City Parks

A nice article about the infusion of funds into city parks over the past several years, and with the potential for the American Rive Parkway, which can be both city and suburban park, the ideas for revitalizing it from several years of decay that have left its lower third a veritable magnet for illegal camping and crime, are out there.

What is still needed is the political will and creativity to look at new forms of governance and fund raising, which we discuss in a recent press release.

An excerpt from the city parks article.

"ST. LOUIS — City sponsors were so nervous about the unveiling of their new downtown park this summer that they arranged for an ice cream truck to park at the site on opening day, just to attract passerbys.

"They needn’t have bothered. Citygarden, just west of the famed Gateway Arch on the Mississippi River, has drawn crowds of people–a cross-section of the city and region’s population–from its opening hour onward.

"The attractions include a cornucopia of trees, contemporary sculpture, an 180-foot rectangular basin with a six-foot waterfall, a state-of-the-art “spray plaza,” a state-of-the-art LED video wall displaying art and movies, plus a high-quality cafe overlooking the combined attractions.

"What this new park doesn’t have are any formal entrances or barriers to separate its manicured paths and quiet spaces from the surrounding city streets. Richard C.D. Fleming, president of the St. Louis Regional Chamber and Growth Association, suggests it’s an “intimate version of Millennium Park,” the Chicago lakeside extravaganza opened in 2004.

"For St. Louis, for years so forsaken its downtown had the feel of a big and mostly empty living room, the public’s warm embrace of Citygarden caps a remarkable comeback decade which has seen the center city draw 5,000 residents and more than $4 billion in new investment.

"But there’s no single formula for new parks. Just climb up a short flight of stairs to the newly-opened “High Line” park on Manhattan’s West Side. You’ll find clusters of families and couples strolling, chatting, sipping lemonade and nibbling on waffles or sandwiches along what for years constituted a desolate and weed-choked stretch of abandoned elevated freight railroad track."