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St. Louis To Seek $125M In Bonds For STL Improvements

The city of St. Louis will seek an estimated $125M in airport bond funding for major capital improvement projects at Lambert-St. Louis International (STL).

Nearly $59.5M of the funding will finance the projects which aim to restore and renovate the facilities at the airport as part of Lambert’s Airport Experience Program. They include new ticket counters and flooring in the ticketing hall; new and improved security checkpoints; new restaurant and concession venues; new restrooms; and new ceiling, flooring, lighting and signage. Design work for the next set of projects, to renovate the Main Terminal and Concourses A, B and C, are expected to be completed in December; construction may begin in the spring.

 “Our customers have told us they want Lambert improved,” says Mayor Francis Slay. “Given the reality of the airline industry, the fiscally responsible way to do it is piece by piece.”

Three renovation projects, costing $17M, started last year, including the interior restoration of the Main Terminal dome ceilings and the installation of a new in-line baggage system; that segment is expected to be finished in August. In the fall, all roadway signs along Lambert International Boulevard will begin to be replaced.

The Airport Experience was originally estimated to cost $105M, but with the economic climate, the airport committed to $70.5M instead.

“We are fortunate to be able to continue the momentum started last year to improve airport operations and passenger services,” says Lambert Director Richard Hrabko. “Our goal remains the same: to make this historic facility a more modern and inviting place for our citizens and visitors.”

The new bond funding will also help cover other projects listed in the airport’s five-year Capital Improvement Plan. Projects such as climate-control upgrades, roof replacements on three concourses, six new airline loading bridges, emergency generators and new elevators in the Main Terminal garage will improve airport operations and passenger service.

The new bonds will also cover $20.3M in grant-eligible airfield projects and $21.8M for debt-service reserves, interest and cost of issuance fees.

In other STL news…

The airport has unveiled its new 130-foot-long “Windows on St. Louis,” a glass-walled gallery space showcasing six local arts or cultural destinations.

The exhibit, in the Main Terminal baggage claim area, gives each of the destinations a “window” with art, sculptures, photographs and memorabilia.

 “We wanted to help promote our arts and culture scene,” says Lambert Director Richard Hrabko. “The exhibit is just a slice of what St. Louis has to offer, but it’s a vibrant and engaging display that has already encouraged visitors to explore and sight-see places they didn’t know about before.”

For the Gateway Arch exhibit, users are encouraged to use the touch-screen computer technology to take a digital tour of what the Arch grounds have to offer; users can also direct a fireworks show over the arch. The Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis shows the art and history behind one of the largest mosaic collections in the world. The window for The Loop shows the famous destination that offers visitors a chance to see the city honor its hometown greats, such as Chuck Berry, on the Walk of Fame. Laumeier Sculpture Park offers photos and art, such as Tobias Putrih’s “Studio at
Laumeier 2006.” The Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis shows off images
from its galleries, and the Soldiers Memorial Military Museum showcases uniforms and other memorabilia from its downtown St. Louis museum galleries.

The “Windows on St. Louis” exhibit will be on display through December.

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