(This story is written by Missourinet St. Louis contributor Jill Enders)
ST. LOUIS- The newly renovated Gateway Arch Museum and Visitors Center is now officially open.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held this morning to mark the completion of the five-year project. Hundreds of tourists and St. Louisans braved the heat to see this moment in history.
Missouri Senator Roy Blunt (R) was among the honorary dignitaries in attendance.
“I think we’ve really set a template of how we can take care of and further expand this great park system in the future,” Blunt said.
Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill (D), U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson and St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger also spoke at the ceremony.
“The new Gateway Arch National Park is an exceptional project that has been ten years in the making—bringing together local, state, and national leaders to make this dream a reality,” McCaskill said. “This is one of the most identifiable places in America and today’s designation helps ensure it can be enjoyed and protected for future generations.”
One of the most significant aspects of the renovations is providing more accessibility and connection to the downtown area.
This marks the final piece of the $380-million project to transform the Arch grounds and is the first major renovation since the Arch opened in 1965.
The completion also means the return of Fair St. Louis to the Arch grounds. During the renovations, Fair St. Louis was held at Forest Park.
Cardinal Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith served as the master of ceremonies.
The Gateway Arch was finished in 1965, but the process for building it began in 1935.
That’s when then-President Franklin Delano Roosevelt designated property along the St. Louis riverfront to be developed as the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial.
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