By Grant Bissell
ST. LOUIS (KSDK) - Friday is the day when we could see the beginning of $85 billion in automatic spending cuts by the federal government.
If a deal isn't reached the cuts will be felt nationwide. That includes national parks like the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial which is home to the Old Courthouse and the Gateway Arch.
The park relies almost exclusively on federal money to stay open and if that money is cut visitors can expect to see changes.
The first and probably most noticeable change could be longer security lines at the entrances.
Park Superintendent Tom Bradley says the cuts will also mean a hiring freeze. That could mean fewer seasonal employees to handle guest services, fewer security officers and fewer maintenance workers.
Park rangers host a number of educational programs in the museum beneath the arch. But those, too, could be scaled back because the park may be forced to cut rangers.
But it's not all gloom and doom. Bradley says even if the cuts take effect, he doesn't expect visiting hours to change.
"We'd love to keep it open," said Bradley. "There's a lot of impacts on our partners and people who plan their trips so we'll do the best we can."