Situated on the eastern bank of the Mississippi River in East St. Louis, Illinois, this 34-acre park faces and complements Gateway Arch National Park on the western bank, offering panoramic views of the river, monument, and St. Louis skyline. The L-shaped space is composed of a rectilinear, east-west oriented lawn with a circular fountain and surrounding green space protruding north from its eastern end.
Architect Eero Saarinen envisioned a park directly across the river from the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial (now Gateway Arch National Park), designed by Saarinen and Kiley and completed in 1965. In 1968 philanthropist Malcom Martin founded the nonprofit Gateway Center of Metropolitan St. Louis to procure land opposite the Arch. The organization eventually purchased land from the Illinois Central Railroad and unveiled the Gateway Fountain in 1995. Measuring more than 500 feet in width, its center is aligned with the northern edge of the park, the geyser periodically erupts from its center, rising approximately 600 feet, nearly the height of the Arch. The central spout is surrounded by four smaller geysers. The arch is mirrored by a parabolic-shaped path that connects the southeast side of the fountain with the western side of the park. With its apex near the fountain, the path evokes a reflection of the Gateway Arch and is bisected by linear, north-south oriented walkways edged by evenly spaced bollards, creating three distinct green spaces. A lawn amphitheater sits near the southeast edge of the central space and an ADA accessible viewing platform completed by HOK in 2009 is located on the southern end of the western-most space. The platform includes a bronze sculpture of Malcom Martin seated on a circular granite bench on its top tier. The waterfront park is managed by the Metro East Park and Recreation District, which is based in Collinsville, Illinois