ST. LOUIS (KSDK) - Would you be willing to pay to improve area parks and transform the Gateway Arch grounds?
On Tuesday voters in St. Louis and St. Louis County will decide whether to approve more than $700 million in taxes for the project. But some say the plan is moving too fast.
"It's two cents on a $10 purchase," said Susan Troutman, executive director of Great Rivers Greenway.
It sounds like a small amount, but if approved by the city and county, Proposition P could raise about $38 million a year for 20 years.
That money would be used to dramatically change the Arch grounds.
"As a visitor you'd be able to walk through the gateway mall, across the park over the highway, visit the arch grounds and walk to the riverfront without taking steps," said Troutman.
Troutman also says it would also help expand and connect other parks across the region.
"What we want to do is create an experience that makes you want to stay a while longer and visit," said Troutman.
But Alex Ihnen, editor of NextSTL.com, worries the plan has gone too far without enough public input.
"You know, it's easy to support parks. We all like to use parks and we like what Great Rivers Greenway has done and we like the Arch. But there's a lack of conversation about what the impact might be and what priorities might be. So, we're looking at $780 million over 20 years and as it's set up that entire amount comes from St. Louis City and county. Both of which have lost population in the last ten years. Both of which are losing jobs," said Ihnen.
Ihnen would like to see developers use the $200 million already set aside for the project before voters approve millions more in taxes.
Meanwhile, Trautman insists public engagement is a key part of this plan.
"The park we're standing in today was built with community input. So will the arch ground project," she said.
If Proposition P passes, 30 percent of the money would go to the Arch grounds, 30 percent would go to the Great Rivers Greenway trail system, and the remaining 40 percent would be divided among other city and county parks.