Metro East Park & Recreation District

Malcolm W. Martin Memorial Park

Objective

In early 2005, the Metro East Park and Recreation District (MEPRD) reached out to The Hauser Group for help generating awareness and excitement about its plans to transform land in East St. Louis, that it was to receive from the Gateway Center of Metropolitan St. Louis, into a memorial park in honor of Gateway Center founder and benefactor Malcolm W. Martin. A key objective was that the park would one day become part of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial.

Strategy

The Hauser Group leveraged the fact that this project represented not just new investment in East St. Louis, but also the potential fulfillment of Eero Saarinen’s vision for a memorial that embraced both sides of the Mississippi River and keyed off those messages for a series of private and public events/press conferences to mark each milestone in the park’s development. These included the donation of the land and approximately $15 million from the Gateway Center and dedication of the park in June 2005; the groundbreaking of the 43-foot-tall Mississippi River Overlook viewing platform in September 2006, and the grand opening of the park and Overlook in June 2009. In each case, The Hauser Group provided media relations support and event coordination, secured participation by a host of bi-state elected officials to reinforce the regional significance of the park, drafted remarks for MEPRD representatives and other key participants echoing core messaging, and handled all event logistics.

Results

As a result of The Hauser Group’s efforts, each milestone at Malcolm W. Martin Memorial Park received extensive advance and post-event coverage, and every event was covered by all major print and broadcast media, as well as the Associated Press (AP). KETC Channel 9 also developed and aired a special segment on the park. In all, The Hauser Group secured total local media placements with a publicity value far in excess of $1 million, and several additional AP stories appeared in daily newspapers across the nation. The grand opening event drew several hundred people from across the bi-state region to East St. Louis, which all involved considered a great success. Most importantly, as the Arch Competition was getting underway, the park was firmly established, along with its connection to Eero Saarinen’s original vision, and it is included in the chosen design.

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