An eastern vantage point (July 4 and anytime)

July 4, 2009

Poor East St. Louis! It can’t catch a break. Earlier this year plans I read about the new Malcolm W. Martin Memorial Park and Mississippi Viewing Platform directly across from the Gateway Arch. The park opened without a whole lot of fanfare in early June — or I should say, that was the opening of the new viewing platform, designed by the well-known St. Louis architecture firm. The huge fountain that’s the park’s centerpiece had been around since 1995. You’ve maybe seen it from the Arch … and probably not been over to see it in person. I haven’t.

The reason I’d expected to hear more about this new park is that it’s bound to be a great place to watch the fireworks tonight. No way you’re headed to East St. Louis after dark, you say? Well, the park has 24-hour security and it’s just two “doors” down from the Casino Queen, according to a nice little story the Beacon did on its opening.

So why does it rate a mere sliver of newsprint as a viewing location?  Because Citygarden opened in downtown St. Louis, maybe?  I’ll admit Citygarden is a fabulous park — my kids ADORE the little square of stepping chimes near the 9th and Market corner.  But aside from St. Louis Front Page, which did a helpful “if-you-go” story on its southwestern Illinois site,  and a tiny little blurb in the Post-Dispatch, I hardly saw the new east-side option mentioned anywhere.

And I’m probably posting this too late to be of much help … ! It looks like an attraction that could finally put East St. Louis on the family-friendly activities map. But it’s worth noting that the park exists, and one of these days we’ll get over to check it out too.

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