Today's Riverfront Times carries an article by Kristin Hinman, "Shaky Grounds: Congress may consider putting the Arch's riverfront park in private hands", in which Congressman William Clay states on the record the intention behind HR 7252, the bill that he introduced in October to cede control of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial to a private group.
Clay's statement is encouraging:
In a written statement to Riverfront Times, he describes the bill as a "technical placeholder" for the 111th Congress, which begins in January.
"The potential loss of a portion of a national park, even for a worthy public purpose, is a very serious matter," Clay writes. "And it will require extensive public input and community engagement before anything happens."
The congressman is correct. I am glad that Clay put his intentions on the record and supports a public process for considering changes. Hopefully, when the next Congress convenes, Clay refrains from introducing any bill until the National Park Service draft management plan is reviewed by the public and formally adopted in the spring.