11 Things to Know About the Chouteau Greenway Project

By on February 21, 2019

From St. Louis Magazine:  Great Rivers Greenway held an open house about the Chouteau Greenway project earlier in the month on February 5 at the Grand Hall on Chouteau. The event was intended to give residents a chance to learn about the project, which will create foot and bike trails linking landmarks and communities across the city, from downtown St. Louis to Forest Park and Fairground Park to Tower Grove Park.

Representatives from more than 30 institutions with a stake in the Chouteau Greenway attended the open house, with exhibitors from neighborhood associations, nonprofits and institutions like Gateway Arch Park Foundation, Explore St. Louis, St. Louis Science Center, St. Louis Zoo, and St. Louis Community College.

At the event, Great Rivers Greenway CEO Susan Trautman gave a presentation outlining the project’s development to date. Trautman said that planners had looked at dozens of case studies for ideas and inspiration. She cited projects like Manhattan’s High Line, Atlanta’s BeltLine, and Indianapolis’ Cultural Trail as examples of transformative projects that have yielded billions of dollars of return on the initial investment.

Trautman said that one key goal for the project is “equity,” but that planners are working with communities and residents to define what that would mean in the context of the Chouteau Greenway. “What does that mean for you? What does that mean for St. Louis?” Trautman said. “We’ve been studying projects all over the country, and there are not very many parks and open-space plans that address equity.” Trautman pointed to the 11th Street Bridge Park in Washington, D.C. as a rare example of a project prioritizing equity as an outcome. “We’re not here to solve all the ills of St. Louis,” Trautman said. “But we are here to make sure that this project thinks about all of these things.”

To work toward that equitable outcome, Trautman said Great Rivers Greenway has spent six months identifying people from every neighborhood within the scope of the Chouteau Greenway project to participate on a steering committee and four working groups. Trautman said the initial meetings of those groups were encouraging. “It was so exciting to see the energy in the room,” she said. “People actually said, ‘There aren’t enough meetings, we want more.’ That was news to us, and we’re going to figure that out.”

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