Missouri Development Finance Board Approves $15 Million In Tax Credits For Museum Under Gateway Arch

Jun 17, 2014
Originally published on June 17, 2014 4:30 pm

A state-run board has signed off on using tax credits to help cover the cost of renovating a museum on the grounds of the Gateway Arch.

The Missouri Development Finance Board voted via conference call Tuesday for up to $15 million in incentives, which would be used to cover half the cost of private donations that total around $30 million. Those donations and the incentives would go toward renovating the Museum of Westward Expansion beneath the Gateway Arch. 

The Department of Revenue and the governor's Office of Administration also have to approve the use of tax credits for the museum renovation, which they have yet to do.  Representatives for the two agencies have not responded to requests for comment.

State Finance Board Executive Director Bob Miserez says the museum renovation project will cost around $169 million and is part of the overall $380 million renovation of the Gateway Arch grounds.

In April, CityArchRiver announced that it had raised $178 million of its goal of $250 million in private funds. The private funds are a major part of the $380 million public-private partnership to overhaul the grounds around the Arch, the Old Courthouse and Kiener Plaza. Of that money, $221 million would pay for capital costs and the remaining $29 million would endow a conservancy.

The private funds will go specifically toward upgrading the museum under the Arch, funding exhibits at the museum, improving the Old Courthouse and planting trees and flowers around the Arch grounds.

The CityArchRiver project is also getting federal, state and local funds. That money will help pay for new pathways and trails, accessibility improvement, and the construction of a park over Interstate 70.

About $69 million is already available through existing federal, state and local funds, much of which are going for transportation-related aspects of the project. And proceeds from 3/16ths of 1-cent sales tax will fund $90 million worth of work that includes safety and accessibility improvements for walkways, bus drop offs and lighting.

The Museum of Westward Expansion, Gateway Arch, and the Old Courthouse of St. Louis comprise the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, which is operated by the National Park Service.  Construction of the Arch began in February 1963 and was completed in October 1965. 

CityArchRiver officials had originally wanted to finish the entire project by the Arch’s 50th birthday in 2015. But late last year, officials announced that some components – including the museum, an overhaul of Kiener Plaza and some tree plantings – won’t be finished until 2016.

Some information for this story was provided by Jason Rosenbaum.

Follow Marshall Griffin on Twitter:  @MarshallGReport

Copyright 2014 KWMU-FM. To see more, visit http://www.stlpublicradio.org.