News Release | Water Works design RPF draws international interest

May 22, 2013 by Janette Law

Five-member Designer Selection Committee to shortlist from 27 entries on June 11

Minneapolis, Minn. – Design teams from seven U.S. states and five European countries responded to the Water Works: A RiverFirst Signature Park Request for Proposal on Friday, May 17. The Minneapolis Parks Foundation announced the park and urban design RFP in April, seeking multidisciplinary teams to develop a schematic design for the future year-round destination on “America’s fourth coast.” The Minneapolis Parks & Recreation Board a Water Works partner.

Five Designer Selection Committee members with design and city building expertise or particular site knowledge will evaluate the 27 submissions over the next three weeks; the Minneapolis Parks Foundation will announce the shortlist on June 11. The Designer Selection Committee is:

  • Bruce Chamberlain, Assistant Superintendent for Planning, Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board
  • Laura Salveson, Director, Mill City Museum & Coordinator, St. Anthony Falls Heritage Board
  • Kjersti Monson, Director of Long Range Planning, City of Minneapolis
  • Matthew Tucker, Assistant Professor, Dept. of Landscape Architecture, University of Minnesota
  • Mary deLaittre, Executive Director, Minneapolis Parks Foundation

The Selection Committee will shortlist based on teams’: composition (disciplines represented) and experience, philosophy and approach to design and planning, and proposed design process and fees. (Selection Committee bios and list of RFP respondents are available at

Situated within a growing mixed-use downtown neighborhood, Water Works connects with existing city, regional and national parks, is permeated with Native American and industrial history, and forms the intersection of multiple streets and biking and walking paths. The four-acre site’s rich industrial past begins with lumber mills lining the river’s edge, followed by flourmills, each supported by the river and nearby rail for power and transportation. The city’s first municipal and fire pumping stations were located here, where the remains of the locally renowned Fuji-Ya Restaurant still stand. From before industrial settlement, the area has been significant to First Nations.

The selected design team will also consider a broader geographic context for Water Works, continuing about five blocks downstream to include Gold Medal Park and passing in front of the Mill City Museum and Guthrie Theatre. The team will work collaboratively with the team selected to complete the Minneapolis Park Board’s concurrent revision of the Central Mississippi Riverfront Regional Park Master Plan.

“We are very pleased with the number of submittals and impressed by the overall quality of the design teams that responded. These teams seem drawn to the power of the falls and the complexity of the Water Works site, as well as its potential as a physical and cultural gateway from Minnesota’s largest city to one of the four great rivers of the world,” says Mary deLaittre, Executive Director of the Minneapolis Parks Foundation.

Water Works is also a RiverFirst Priority Project. RiverFirst is both a vision and a multi-year, multi-agency strategy to transform the Minneapolis Upper Riverfront with 21st century parks and parks-supportive amenities. Within the RiverFirst context, the Upper Riverfront extends 5.5 miles from the Stone Arch Bridge to the city’s northern border. Water Works was identified as a RiverFirst Priority Project in 2012.

Key Dates

The shortlisted teams will complete selection committee interviews, June 25-27. The Minneapolis Parks Foundation will announce the winning design team on July 9, with design beginning in mid-Summer and continuing through early 2014.

About the Minneapolis Parks Foundation

The Minneapolis Parks Foundation is creating the Next Generation of Parks™. Through the generosity of our donors and grantmakers, we provide private-sector leadership and support for RiverFirst and Water Works, innovative urban design projects that build on our 100-year legacy of visionary parks. We work collaboratively with multiple government and non-profit partners on these parks projects, as well as our education programs – SiteSeeing Urban Design Curriculum and Next Generation of Parks™ Lecture Series. The Minneapolis Park System enhances the quality of life in our city and creates social and economic environments that strengthen communities throughout the region. Learn more and donate at

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Water Works is Supported By

St. Anthony Falls Heritage Board | Jay & Rose Phillips Family Foundation
Pentair Foundation | Many Generous Donors

Additional Funding Provided By

McKnight Foundation | George Family Foundation| Curtis L. Carlson Foundation

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