In 1999, a nonprofit group called Downtown Now sponsored the development of a master plan for downtown St. Louis. The plan, which was approved by the Board of Aldermen, called for a sculpture garden on the two blocks of the Gateway Mall between Eighth and Tenth Streets.
Over the next several years, downtown St. Louis experienced a dramatic revival. Lofts and apartments were created in old warehouses and industrial buildings, dozens of new businesses opened, and the population roughly doubled. By 2006, the City saw a need to develop public, recreational space for the growing constituency. Fortunately the space existed - on the Gateway Mall. The City decided to get busy.
At the request of the City, Gateway Foundation funded the development of a new Mall Master Plan. Gateway Foundation funded the development of a plan encompassing the entire Mall, from Broadway to 21st Street. Excited by the plan, the City asked Gateway Foundation to fund the design and construction of the sculpture garden.
An agreement was reached in September 2006, and in June 2007, Gateway Foundation made a proposal to the Board of Aldermen to develop those two blocks into a public sculpture garden, in a partnership with the City. An ordinance approving the proposal won passage, and later, the St. Louis Preservation Board and the Board of Public Service also gave their approvals.
Since the 2007 agreement with the Board of Aldermen, Citygarden has become a reality. The City of St. Louis believes that Citygarden will help to create a new standard for the development of the rest of the Gateway Mall. It also believes that Citygarden will not only fulfill its purpose of providing open, recreational space for downtown office workers and residents, but also catalyze the development of more commercial and residential space along the perimeter of the Gateway Mall and elsewhere downtown.