(KMOV) – The Gateway Arch and Old Courthouse opened Thursday, a day after President Obama signed a measure to end the 16-day partial federal government shutdown.
With the partial government shutdown ending, the Arch opened Thursday morning to a small crowd.
The opening means two-thirds of the 100 National Parks Service employees at the Arch and the adjacent Old Courthouse are receiving paychecks again. They had been on furlough since the government closed national parks when the shutdown began Oct. 1.
The government shutdown idled many offices and facilities in Missouri, including Army Corps of Engineers-operated campgrounds, boat ramps and visitors centers.
About 4 million people visit the Arch each year, making it Missouri’s largest tourist attraction excluding casinos. Officials say the Arch generally attracts between 2,000 and 4,000 visitors a day. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports the numbers usually decline in the fall but officials are expecting a heavy turnout while the St. Louis Cardinals continue their postseason play.
During the shutdown, people could still stroll the Arch grounds and view the outside of the monument They just couldn’t visit the museum beneath the Arch or take the tram to the top.