The Goppert Foundation of Kansas City is contributing $250,000 to an expansion and bridge project underway at Union Station.
The gift brings the station closer to meeting its fundraising goal for the $7.5 million project, which is described as the largest undertaken by Union Station since its renovation and reopening in 1999.
Construction is underway on a vehicular and pedestrian bridge from the west side of Union Station to the third level of the existing West Yards parking garage. The bridge will allow more direct access to the garage from Pershing Road as well as views of a new festival plaza and Science City expansion below. More information can be found at unionstation.org/westernexpansion.
The Goppert Foundation was established in 1960 by banker Clarence Goppert.
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“My grandfather would be so excited to see the station grow and prosper,” foundation vice chairman Tom Goppert said in an announcement of the gift Wednesday. “This project and all it encompasses is yet another high-water mark, and we’re delighted to support it.”
The expansion will allow the creation of the first outdoor exhibit at Science City. It will be based on the winning entry in the last Battle of the Brains student competition. A team from Mason Elementary School in Lee’s Summit came up with the idea of a playground incorporating simple machines to illustrate the basics of engineering.
The project will also include a new lower-level entrance to the theater area and a new “space portal” connecting it with Science City and the Gottlieb Planetarium.
The bridge and expansion project relies on private funding and a $2.25 million tax credit approved by the Missouri Development Finance Board.
The first-phase bridge project is to be completed by the end of May. During construction of it and the festival plaza, visitors will still have access to the parking garage and the lower-level entrance to Union Station.