Big changes to the Arch Grounds starting to take shape

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ST. LOUIS (KTVI) – We are at the halfway point in the renovation of the Gateway Arch Grounds and downtown visitors should notice some big changes in just a couple of months.

It's called the City Arch River Project and it means big changes for the three and a half million who visit the Arch Grounds every year.

Day by day the grounds of the arch are being transformed.   The Walnut Street Bridge is long gone. and the new seamless park, finally connecting downtown to the  city's iconic landmark, is just waiting for landscaping.   In just two months it should  look like this.

"Doesn't  matter who you are or your background,  If you live in St. Louis the Arch is yours.   Watching it become physically connected  for the first time is just really exciting," said Ryan McClure with the CityArchRiver Project.

Work is also almost complete on raising Lenore  K. Sullivan Boulevard 3 feet to  prevent future flooding on the  riverfront.  But other projects  in this  $380 million dollar makeover are just beginning,  including the 40,000 square foot expansion of the arch  museum.   The entrance  has been moved and will now face the old courthouse with a sleek, modern design that includes floor to ceiling windows.

"Bringing the entrance of the museum into the city by placing it right there on the other side of the park by the highway.. again connects the arch to the city," said McClure.

One of the most dramatic changes is  at the north end of the Arch Grounds.  The parking lot is gone and in its place will be a mini amphitheater, an explore garden for children and bike and walking paths.

Throughout the project the Arch has remained open.   The only exception will be next year, when the Arch closes in January and February so Metro can do upgrade maintenance on the trams.

The entire project is expected to be completed by 2017.

Google Map for coordinates 38.624691 by -90.184776.

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