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How large is the Memorial and does the Memorial consist of more than the Gateway Arch?

The entire Memorial is about 91 acres. This includes the Gateway Arch and grounds (about 62 acres), plus another 30 acres or so encompassing the Old Courthouse, Luther Ely Smith Square and a good bit of the surrounding streets (managed as easements).

Why does the memorial consist of more than just the Arch?

Jefferson National Expansion Memorial was envisioned, from the time it was proposed by civic leaders in the 1930s, as being a commemorative site that would interpret St. Louis’ role in the westward expansion of the United States. Over the years several different schemes and proposals were put forward to accomplish this goal, all of which utilized the entire landscape of a large, rectangular area roughly corresponding with the original site of the French colonial town of St. Louis. Eero Saarinen’s vision of the site, which was judged the winner of the 1947-1948 architectural competition, also encompassed the entire area. All 172 entrants in the competition had to create a landscape design as well as “a large, central feature,” and most retained landscape architects on their design teams to ensure that they created a holistic space within the 62 plus acres of the site, and not just a spectacular centerpiece. The seven-person competition jury that chose the Saarinen design purposely included a landscape architect, S. Herbert Hare, for just this reason. The centerpiece of Saarinen’s design, the magnificent Gateway Arch, so enthralled the competition judges (and all later viewers) that it not only dominated the site but made people forget that a specific landscape was also designed to correspond with and enhance the Arch. Jefferson National Expansion Memorial is the entire site, and not just the Gateway Arch.

Does the National Historic Landmark Nomination refer to both the Gateway Arch and the grounds which surround it?

Yes. Sixty-two acres of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, including the Gateway Arch structure and the surrounding landscape, was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1987. Although most people realize that the Gateway Arch stands with the Statue of Liberty, the Golden Gate Bridge, Mt. Rushmore, and the Washington Monument as universally recognizable forms and symbols of national identity, few are aware of the significance of the landscape which surrounds it. Architect Eero Saarinen and landscape architect Dan Kiley planned a landscape for the Arch which complements, enhances and echoes the graceful lines of the structure, while not calling attention to itself. The National Historic Landmark designation included not only the “massive stainless steel structure” of the Arch itself but also the “curvilinear, graceful staircases of toned concrete at the north and south ends [which] provide access to the grounds from the riverfront. The grounds themselves are carefully landscaped with ponds, trees, and walkways that again reflect the gentle curve of the Arch. Similar curves are repeated in the tunnel entrances for the railroad tracks that cut through the property.” The scale, impact, and design of the grounds constitute an essential mooring for the world-famous Arch and merge the Arch and its grounds, with one reflecting the other.

What is Jefferson National Expansion Memorial?

Jefferson National Expansion Memorial (JNEM) is one of over 390 parks that comprise the National Park system. JNEM was established under the National Historic Sites 1935. It is administered by the National Park Service (NPS), a Federal agency within the Department of the Interior. The park includes the Gateway Arch, the Old Courthouse, and the Museum of Westward Expansion.

Is the Old Cathedral a part of the Memorial?

The Old Cathedral is not in the National Memorial. It is owned and operated by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. Louis. At the time the park was established, the Old Cathedral was recognized for its historic values, but was intentionally not included in the Memorial because the Archdiocese was still actively utilizing the Cathedral.

What is the annual visitation at the memorial?

Jefferson National Expansion Memorial continues to be one of the biggest attractions in the St. Louis area. The park had 2,572,072 visitors in 2006. The park’s visitation has fluctuated over the decades, and over the past five years has been as high as 2.9 million and as low as 2.4 million. These fluctuations are normal and expected, although there has been a national trend over the last seven years toward lower numbers of visitors at all parks.

What are visitors allowed to do on the Gateway Arch grounds?

Though the Memorial was not created specifically as a recreational park, all sorts of activities are allowed. Running, walking, picnics, playing catch, Frisbee, and other impromptu activities are commonplace. In addition, the National Park Service hosts special events, organized programs and tours at various times of the year, and plans are currently in the works for more.
On September 27-28, NPS will host
ParkPalooza, an outdoor event designed to highlight various programs and recreational opportunities available throughout the United States. A variety of family fun activities will be offered giving folks a chance to participate in an archeological "dig", canoeing and water safety and rock climbing and learn more about camping, history, art and engineering.

Who was Eero Saarinen?

Eero Saarinen was the lead designer and architect of the team that won the 1947 Jefferson National Expansion Memorial competition. Saarinen, along with Dan Kiley, landscape architect, Lily Saarinen, sculptor, J. Barr, draftsman, and Alexander Girard, designer, competed with 171 other architects and architectural teams to win. Eero Saarinen went on to work on other projects, including the main terminal at Dulles Airport and the TWA Terminal at JFK Airport, the General Motors Technical Center, the John Deere and Company Headquarters, and U.S. Embassies in London and Oslo. He was renowned for his innovation in using new materials and engineering in these daring concepts, as well as for his modernist furniture designs.

Who was Dan Kiley and what was his role in the design?

Daniel Urban Kiley was one of the premiere landscape architects of his generation, and was a frequent collaborator with Eero Saarinen. Most of Saarinen’s best designs are set within Kiley landscapes. Kiley worked with Saarinen on Jefferson National Expansion Memorial from the very start of the architectural competition in 1947, and redesigned the landscape between 1957 and 1964.

What is a National Historic Landmark, and why was Jefferson National Expansion Memorial designated as one?

In addition to caring for our nation’s parks and historic sites, the National Park Service also administers a variety of programs that identify and protect other significant parts of our nation’s natural and historical heritage. The designation of National Historic Landmark is awarded only to places with national significance. National Historic Landmarks exemplify the very best in our nation’s history and culture, and the enduring values and ideals that came out of important national events. Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, including the Gateway Arch structure and the surrounding landscape, were designated a National Historic Landmark in 1987. The National Park Service is charged by law with protecting National Historic Landmarks within our care.

How could the pedestrian connections between the Old Courthouse, the Arch grounds and the riverfront be improved?

Eero Saarinen’s design for the Memorial included a basic ideal of connecting the Arch, visually, to the Old Courthouse, and he realized the need for maintaining a pedestrian connection between the two. It was Saarinen that insisted the Interstate be placed in depressed lanes, and he spent a great deal of time designing several types of pedestrian footbridges or “connectors” to span these highways and facilitate the connection between downtown and the Arch. The planning team has studied Saarinen’s drawings for the connector and will be recommending one or more of these designs.

In recent years, the NPS completed the Grand Staircase between Sullivan Drive on the riverfront and the base of the Arch. Each of the preliminary alternatives in the General Management Plan includes the addition of accessible ramps, which would be built from the Arch down to the riverfront would make the site more user-friendly to all. Although not part of the original Saarinen-Kiley landscape plan, ADA-compliant ramps could be designed to compliment the original design.

What are fundamental resources?

Fundamental resources are those resources whose health, integrity, or quality are vital to achieving the park’s mission and maintaining its significance. Fundamental resources are those that must be preserved and protected to ensure the integrity of the park.

Why don’t you have members of the public on the GMP planning team?

Many members of the public are actively involved in the GMP planning effort; however, a member of the public may only participate on the planning team itself under the guidance of The Federal Advisory Committee Act. The Act states that, “Advisory committees should be established only when they are determined to be essential, and their numbers should be kept to the minimum necessary.” In fact, action by both Congress and the President is needed to establish an Advisory Committee, and such action is relatively rare. The National Park Service (NPS) has received many public comments and ideas during the GMP process and the planning team takes all of this into consideration during the development of the new plan.

How can I view public comments on the newsletters?

Public comments on the newsletters are considered pre-decisional information. We take every precaution to protect the privacy of those who comment. Comments will always be summarized and made available to the public in future documents (newsletters and the draft plan). Individual public comments are collected but are not available for public viewing until after a final decision is reached by the NPS Regional Director with the signing of a Record of Decision.

Does completing the GMP guarantee future funding and implementation?

No. The GMP will provide “big picture” guidance. Once the GMP is completed, future action plans, which “tier” off the GMP, will be prepared and will help support park requests for funding for a variety of activities. Although a GMP provides the analysis and justification for future funding, the plan in no way guarantees that money will be forthcoming.

What are the planning steps?

The general planning steps include: scoping (gathering ideas for the “scope” of the project), developing preliminary alternatives, refining preliminary alternatives, preparing a draft plan and revising and preparing a final plan. A more detailed listing of the steps is identified in each Newsletter and is also available on the park’s website at www.nps.gov/jeff. Public comments will be solicited throughout the planning process.

How will people be able to give their input, and how will it be used?

Public input will be sought through a variety of methods such as letters, press releases, newsletters, websites and open houses. Information gathered through these methods will be incorporated into planning at each step. Public comments will be carefully reviewed, grouped as appropriate, and considered by the planning team. The GMP will identify alternatives that were considered but not carried forward for detailed analysis. The park’s website www.nps.gov/jeff will contain links to review documents and additional information about the project.

What is an Environmental Impact Statement?

An Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is a detailed environmental analysis document that is prepared when a proposal or alternatives have the potential for significant impact on the environment. In the National Park Service, GMPs are almost always accompanied by an EIS. It will not be a separate document.

What if I cannot attend the public meetings? Can I still participate?

Yes , you may comment on-line, by mail, by email, or by fax. Please see "How to Comment."

Can I submit my ideas online? Do I need a password?

You may submit your comment online by using the link on this website. No password is necessary, but you must identify yourself.

Do I have to submit my personal information (name, address,etc) to participate in the process?

Anonymous comments will not be accepted. Although you can ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so. You should be aware that your entire comment - including your personal identifying information - may be made publicly available at any time.

What happens once we submit our ideas?

After the end of the initial public comment period, the planning team will adjust the preliminary alternatives as necessary based on public and agency input, and will then analyze the effects of implementing each of the alternatives. The results of this analysis will be published in a Draft General Management Plan (GMP) and Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The Draft GMP/EIS will be distributed to the public for review and comment. A preferred alternative for the future management of the Memorial will be identified in this document. Additional public meetings will be held during this step of the process.

Will the Park Service contact me once I submit my ideas?

Due to the number of responses anticipated, the National Park Service will not be able to contact each commenter individually.

Can I submit my own alternatives or do I have to choose one of the park's alternatives?

You may submit your own alternative. You may also identify parts of park alternatives that you feel should be combined into a new alternative, or parts of an alternative that you feel should be changed or deleted.

Can the alternatives be accessed from a public library?

Yes, you may use a public computer to view the alternatives on the project website, or you may ask to see the Newsletter insert that was in the June 19, 2008, edition of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

When is the deadline for submissions?

Comments are welcome at any time, but due to the project schedule, comments received by July 14, 2008, will be most helpful.

How many times can I submit my ideas?

You may submit as many comments as you wish, as often as you like.

Does this process include the Old Courthouse?

Yes, the Old Courthouse is an integral part of Jefferson National Expansion Memorial and decisions regarding the future of the Old Courthouse will be addressed in the General Management Plan.

What if we don't want any changes to the park?

If you do not wish to see any changes to the park, you must submit a comment to that effect in order for your wishes to be taken into account during the planning process.

Who will decide the final plan?

The National Park Service is responsible for preparing the draft plan, selecting the preferred alternative, and issuing the final plan. Throughout this process, the National Park Service will rely on public input to identify and address concerns, issues, expectations, and desires of visitors, interested citizens, interest groups, and others.

Last updated: April 10, 2015

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