ST. LOUIS, MO – Kwame Building Group (KWAME) has completed the first portion of installation of a new public art exhibit that will eventually link a one-mile stretch of the Brickline Greenway from Harris-Stowe State University to St. Louis CITY SC’s CITYPARK Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri. The permanent exhibit features art that acknowledges the 1959 displacement of nearly 20,000 Black residents of the Mill Creek Valley neighborhood formerly located at the site. The new Major League Soccer stadium, which will attract up to 22,500 visitors per game, provides a platform to drive exposure and discussion around the artwork.
The more than ten-mile Brickline Greenway will connect 14 city neighborhoods and is part of the Great Rivers Greenway (GRG) network of accessible, car-free paths under development throughout the region to connect St. Louisans’ with schools, workplaces, neighborhoods, civic and cultural institutions. This project is being done in partnership with the City of St. Louis, reimaging streets to work for everyone.
As construction manager and program manager for the entire Brickline Greenway project, KWAME is overseeing and directing the project from conception to completion including the budget, quality control and schedule. KWAME also provided preconstruction services including constructability reviews of architectural drawings, cost estimating and bid coordination of subcontractors. GRG has collaborated with local partners and residents to develop the Brickline Greenway as well as the Mill Creek Valley public art monument.
A focal point of the artwork is a monument by St. Louis resident and nationally-acclaimed artist Damon Davis located at the southwest corner of the stadium site. The monument features a series of 10- to 12-foot, black granite and limestone pillars, each in the shape of an hourglass. Interpretive signs, maps and quotes from Mill Creek Valley residents also tell the story of the community that was cleared because of what the city described as “urban renewal.” The name, age and occupation of each resident taken from the 1940 U.S. Census is displayed. Rows of hedges and benches represent the placement of former buildings, with their addresses listed.
The one-mile-long installation will link to historic sites on the Harris-Stowe State University campus, which include some of the only remaining structures from the Mill Creek Valley neighborhood. Davis’ work is also part of Counterpublic 2023, a civic arts exhibition that commissions artists to create and present works in St. Louis that engage the city’s histories and imagine new futures.
KWAME is also the owner’s representative and program manager for construction of the CITYPARK Stadium, which opened in November for the CITY2 exhibition game. St. Louis City SC provided financial as well as other support for the art exhibit to drive exposure and discussion around this part of St. Louis’ history.
The Brickline Greenway is estimated to be completed in seven to 10 years, with three segments expected to open to the public by 2026. Spanning up to 14 neighborhoods, the paths will cut through the heart of the city and connect Forest Park, Gateway Arch National Park, Fairground Park and Tower Grove Park. The goal of the project is to increase access equity to greenspaces and connect diverse communities across St. Louis. A recent report by Greater St. Louis, Inc. determined that the Brickline Greenway will drive hundreds of millions of dollars in economic growth in the St. Louis metro area. This $460 million impact, which far exceeds the initial investment, will also result in numerous other social and economic benefits for the region as well as advance the restoration of the metro’s urban core, a key strategy of the STL 2030 Jobs Plan.
The Brickline Greenway project is led by GRG, the public agency that connects three of the counties in the St. Louis region with greenways since 2000. KWAME has worked with GRG on several other projects including the St. Vincent Greenway, the CityArchRiver Renovation at the Gateway Arch and the recently completed Foundry Trestle Pier Project.