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Save the Skybridge

Cee Wisp Communications
Re: Save the Skybridge
Embargo: Thursday, February 4, 5 p.m.

ST. LOUIS — As reported in Martin Van Der Werf's column in the Post-Dispatch today, efforts are afoot to remove the pedestrian "skybridge" from the St. Louis Centre complex, thereby forever altering the scenic streetscape along this burgeoning section of Washington Avenue. In response, a group of concerned citizens is planning a multi-pronged approach to keep the historic skybridge intact.

"Changing the dramatic exterior of the St. Louis Center skybridge would be a mistake," says Franklin Jennings, a spokesperson for the ad-hoc "Save the Skybridge" effort. "Once torn asunder, the views in this area of eastern Downtown would never be the same. We consider the skybridge to be part-and-parcel of the robust nature and dramatic vista of this working neighborhood. It has been a part of Downtown for roughly two decades. Our contention is that it should be serviceable for at least two generations."

With City Hall rainmakers likely favoring the demolition of this structure — which linked the old Dillard's department store to the vibrant commercial hub of the Centre — overtures will be made to insurgent Mayoral candidates Bill Haas and Irene Smith.

"These are people who regularly trade in the ideas market," says Jennings. "No 'isms' apply with them. Particularly age-ism, which is clearly in effect with this anti-preservation move. The thought that the contemporary design aesthetics of the late-'70s and early-'80s can be so wantonly tossed aside, shows that our civic leadership doesn't value Generation X, the people who grew up with the architecture so vividly brought to life by the skybridge. This seems to stand in stark contrast with ballyhooed efforts to woo young residents to the City."

Jennings suggests that those interested become immediately involved, first by purchasing goods and services from the vendors that call St. Louis Centre home.

"Nothing speaks louder than a consumer response," Jennings says. "And the range and scope of commercial endeavors currently taking place in the Centre will surely surprise those who've not shopped there in several years."

Meanwhile, online efforts will be undertaken through the (in-construction) internet portal: savetheskybridge.org.

"We've seen countless Downtown buildings saved through highly-public internet campaigns, featuring sharply-designed, highly-intuitive and dynamically-interactive sites" Jennings says. "Why not here?"

Now that information of the potential demolition of the historic skybridge is becoming public, Jennings hopes to tap into the goodwill built through other, recent efforts to save important Downtown landmarks. He stresses that "outside-the-big-box thinking" might be required here.

"Take the trendy 'windowless condo' idea so prevalent in the American Northwest," Jennings suggests. "It's not necessary for Downtown lofts to have, for example, 40 windows per unit. In our research, windowless condos are increasingly popular in rain-saturated, low-light cities such as Portland and Seattle, where adaptive reuse is treasured, not mocked. To target a handful of units to those with solid incomes and light sensitivity is simply good business."

For more information, contact Franklin Jennings through Cee Wisp Communications @ franklinjennings@yahoo.com.

In memory: Johnathan Swift, 1667-1742.

Posted under Business District by Brian Marston on Thu., Feb 3, 2005 at 4:16 PM


Why not tear it down? Its ugly. But other than that just being my opnion...
Keeping the sky bridge is a non-starter for development of adjacent properties such as the Dillard’s Building. I do agree that given time and an increasing city population, that St. Louis Center need not be torn down. People moving into and around downtown can revive the mall. However from an aesthetic point of view, I feel the skyway hurts the flow of Washington Ave, disconnecting the parts below 6th Street from the parts above 8th Street. Why? The sky way acts visually the same as elevated I-70 does in disconnecting Laclede’s Landing or as elevated I-60/US40 does for the area south of Downtown. You can keep St. Louis Center, but why the skybridge, an inconsequential and detrimental part of the structure. St. Louis Center can be saved without the skyway; its all about balance. Keep the Center, ditch the skyway.

[Posted by Jon on Thu., Apr 7, 2005 at 2:34 PM]

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