RiverFirst is a 20-year vision for creating the Next Generation of Parks™ along 5.5 miles of the Mississippi River in Minneapolis. In realizing this great vision – beginning with five priority projects in the next five years – the “City of Lakes” restores its identity as a city of the mighty Mississippi and leverages one of three great rivers of the world as a source for economic development and community and cultural vitality.
Establishing the RiverFirst Initiative (Spring 2012)
In March 2012, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board approved RiverFirst: A Park Design Proposal and Implementation Plan for the Minneapolis Upper Riverfront. Along with endorsing the vision and authorizing next steps for five-year priority projects, the Park Board authorized its Planning staff to work with the Minneapolis Parks Foundation to establish a collaboration agreement among the Park Board, Parks Foundation and City of Minneapolis to guide what will be a multiagency RiverFirst initiative.
The Road to RiverFirst (2010-2012)
RiverFirst began as a visionary entry in the renowned Minneapolis Riverfront Design Competition, a 2010-2011 international landscape design and urban planning competition co-presented by the Minneapolis Parks Foundation with the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board. Design Team Tom Leader Studio and Kennedy & Violich Architecture won the MR|DC on the strength of their RiverFIRST concept, which addressed 21st century challenges including ecological heritage (water), green economy (economic opportunity), food and mobility.
In April 2011, the Minneapolis Park Board established the Minneapolis Riverfront Development Initiative (MR|DI) as a special project to carry through the promise of connecting people from near and far with new multifunctional Upper Riverfront parks along “America’s fourth coast.” The MR|DI was charged with transforming RiverFIRST from a visionary concept to a workable plan for short- and long-term parks-based development. More than 60 agency and community partners, along with a broad spectrum of community members, were directly involved in the MR|DI. The RiverFirst Design Team included New York-based economic development consultants HR&A Advisors, which created the RiverFirst implementation plan, and Groundwork City Building, which managed the project.
Minneapolis Riverfront Design Online