12/13/12 – Great Rivers Greenway Board Approves Agreement for CityArchRiver 2015 Project

St. Louis, Mo., Dec 13, 2012…  With the goal of improving the quality of life in the St. Louis region through improved parks and trails, the Great Rivers Greenway District’s Board of Directors today voted unanimously to approve a key agreement related to the CityArchRiver 2015 project.

“We’re excited to take one more step forward in this project, which stands to improve the quality of life for the entire region, by promoting tourism, providing real transportation alternatives along the riverfront and connecting communities in a really substantial way,” said Susan Trautman, Executive Director of the district.

The agreement, which is a required measure in state statute SCS/HB 1504, assigns Great Rivers Greenway as the steward of any public funds that CityArchRiver would receive as a result of the passage of the Safe and Accessible Arch and Public Parks initiative, should it pass in April 2013.

“We’re proud to take on this role as stewards of public funds – a role we’re very familiar with – and to represent the best interests of the public in this project, as we do in every project,” said Trautman. “We intend to oversee these tax dollars with the same stringent standards we’ve been using for 12 years at Great Rivers Greenway.”

Great Rivers Greenway was created in 2000 when the region’s citizens voted for clean air, safe parks and community trails. The organization is funded by a sales tax, and prides itself on good stewardship of the public funds it receives, operating well below its 15% administrative cap, and returning more than 91% of the funds it receives back to the public in the form of physical improvements and land acquisition.

The legislation, currently set to go before the St. Louis Board of Aldermen for discussion on today, proposes a 3/16 of a cent sales tax be levied regionally. Should that effort be successful, taxpayers would contribute less than two cents for every ten dollars in retail sales, resulting in an estimated $38 million in funds each year. Forty percent of the funds received would go to regional parks, while the remaining sixty percent would be split between Great Rivers Greenway and the CityArchRiver project.

The language of the agreement clearly states that public dollars will be designated for the public components of the project, such as ADA-accessible pathways, bikeways and safety improvements, such as improved lighting.

“There is a long history here of local people supporting the Arch, the front door of our region,” said Trautman. “As early as 1935, St. Louis citizens voted to support the creation of the monument with a $7.5 million bond issue, and in all, the City of St. Louis contributed 25% of the cost to build the Arch. Today, we’re presenting the option to the public to once again consider supporting a landmark imitative to further enhance the Arch Grounds and the entire region.”

For more information, contact:

Pamela Powell, The Hauser Group (314) 436-9090

Danni Eickenhorst, Great Rivers Greenway (314) 932-4910