Making of a Greenway: Transformational Project and Process

Chouteau Greenway Mission, Vision, Intended Outcomes

Making of Chouteau Greenway:

The Chouteau Greenway Project is a major public-private partnership to bring a long-time vision to life. The mission/vision statement explains, “Chouteau Greenway will transform St. Louis by connecting people and our City’s most treasured places, creating inspiring experiences and equitable opportunities for growth.” More than just a free, accessible trail where people can exercise, commute or explore, the project’s goals include offering an exceptional experience to residents and tourists alike. The greenway aims to create dynamic, active spaces and serve as a regional gathering place that encourages collaboration and boosts civic pride. The areas to be studied stretch from Washington University and Forest Park through our city to downtown and the Gateway Arch, with spurs north and south to Fairground Park and Tower Grove Park, connecting 20 of our city’s vibrant neighborhoods plus parks, business and arts districts, employment centers, transit and dozens of cultural and educational institutions. The Chouteau Greenway is part of the overall network of greenways being built by Great Rivers Greenway and partners.

Current status: Great Rivers Greenway is working with the Stoss Team, who won the design competition in May 2018, to create a framework plan for the whole area. This planning process includes studying routes, designing the look and feel of the greenway and proposing economic and equity plans for the project, with community input and collaboration through the 125+ member Steering Committee and Working Groups. When the framework is complete in Fall 2019, particular pieces of geography can begin further design on specific greenway segments.

Where will this greenway go?

We don’t know yet! Partners studied existing plans and those in the works, gathered feedback from the community about where they want to go, and created a comprehensive map. We believe strongly in partnership and making sure our work is done within the context of everything else going on in a project area. The map below show the routes to be studied throughout the area that stretches from Forest Park to Gateway Arch National Park and Tower Grove to Fairground Parks through 20 city neighborhoods.

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Chouteau Greenway’s first project: Boyle Avenue to Sarah Avenue
The St. Louis region was awarded a $10.3 million US Department of Transportation TIGER grant (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) to construct a new MetroLink light rail station along with the first segment of Chouteau Greenway so employees and visitors can walk or ride bikes to connect with the Cortex Innovation Community. Construction began in June 2017 and the station and greenway are now open!

Review the process thus far:

  • Late 1990s/Early 2000s Many partners create a conceptual plan to connect Forest Park to the Arch. 
  • September 2017 – Began community engagement to understand the wants and needs of residents. From digital outreach to neighborhood meetings, a listening tour to pop up events, mailings and more, 2,062 people contributed ideas through the survey, plus a Community Advisory Committee was formed to help create a set of community goals for the design teams to follow.
  • November 2017 – Great Rivers Greenway and partners received a total of 19 team qualifications submittals for the first stage of the competition. A total of 124 firms from seven countries and 13 U.S. states made up the team submissions, with 44 of the firms being local to the St. Louis region. Learn more about the chosen teams here.
  • November 2017 – The jury selected 4 of the 19 teams to advance. Recap here.
  • January 2018 – Two community events kicked off the competition for the four teams. Read more, watch video, see photos.
  • January 2018 – The design teams got a full briefing and were officially challenged to come up with ideas to address the geography below in the context of the Design and Community Goals.
  • April 2018 – Meet the concepts that were submitted: exhibit boards, full design reports People gave feedback online, through exhibits all over town and attended or watched the livestream of the presentations from the teams to the jury.
  • April 2018 – The jury deliberated and selected the Stoss Landscape Urbanism team, made up of 12 entities (6 local to St. Louis, 6 national). Read the full press release AND their jury report!
  • May 2018 – The Chouteau Greenway Design Competition jury selected the STOSS Landscape Urbanism team, comprised of six local and six national entities.
  • July 2018  – To help ensure that the Chouteau Greenway is representative of the community and welcoming to all visitors, Great Rivers Greenway, with the support of the Whitaker Foundation, has assembled a new Artists of Color Council. Made up of visual, literary and performing artists, this council will provide guidance to design, promote and implement art and engagement opportunities within the Chouteau Greenway corridor.
  • Fall 2018 – Work to refine the concept continues while engagement evolves. The Community Advisory Committee, Design Oversight Committee and Technical Advisory Committee, tools of the competition, are finished. Some of those members and many new faces are recruited to join a Steering Committee and Working Groups, blending a variety of voices into groups focused on design, routes, economics, equity and governance.
  • February 2019 – On February 5, 2019, we welcomed more than 300 people to our Community Update, which included a presentation, more than 25 other partners with tables and engagement activities and a series of  display boards to update everyone. Event and digital interactive mapping activities gathered input from participants.
  • Spring/Summer 2019 – The Steering Committee and Working Groups guide the team through the creation of a Framework Plan, creating a platform for the project before any designs for any segments begin, addressing design choices including art, amenities, ecology and more, route options and criteria for selection, economic opportunities, governance models and equity considerations. Stakeholder engagement with elected officials, neighborhood leaders and other institutions continues.