ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) - It’s a project that’s been in the works for more than a decade. Soon, St. Louis will be one of just three cities in the world to have an elevated greenway.
An old commuter train trestle was purchased by the Great Rivers Greenway District in 2004. It will soon become the St. Louis Trestle: 1.5 miles of walking and bicycle paths, along with other attractions, spanning from the McKinley Bridge to west of Interstate 70.
Tuesday, project leaders held an open house in Old North St. Louis to get feedback from the public, to get the Trestle one step closer to becoming a reality.
Todd Antoine serves as Planning Director for the Great Rivers Greenway District. He says this recycled railway will become so much more than a typical nature trail, which is why, in part, it’s taking so long to construct. He explains, “It is very unique and very complex, and the whole model is how we can be sustainable.”
Plans for sustainability include catching rainwater to hydrate the greenway's plants and community garden, as well as using solar power.
There are also plans for a performing arts plaza, outdoor classrooms, and a space for weddings and other events. “After the meetings we have today, we’re going to be advancing that design towards 100% construction documents. This project, overall, is in the range of 50 to 60 million dollars to do,” explains Antoine.
Nearby resident William Gruhn feels this project, partly funded by taxpayer dollars, is a high price to pay for a play area.
Gruhn explains, “If we can spend $50 million to put a garden above the city, then I’d like to see the metropolitan area come together on some kind of tax proposal to shelter homeless people.”
But if done right, Antoine and others behind the project feel its impact could be priceless, “The idea here is that we’ll have St. Louis’s version of the High Line, being one of three cities in the world, behind Paris and New York, to have an elevated park like this."
Avid bicyclist and Trestle supporter Karen Carabell adds, “We used to be one of the greatest cities in the world, and it’s time we step back up to the plate there.”
In terms of a timeline, the Trestle will be constructed in phases, beginning in roughly three years.
Project organizers also aspire to ultimately connect the Trestle to the Gateway Mall, and make it part of a six-mile loop of trails throughout the city.