It’s natural this time of year to reflect on the previous 12 months and set aims for the next. When future generations look back at the history of Minneapolis parks, 2018 will likely be seen as a pivotal year for our system.
Most recently, the Minneapolis Parks Foundation celebrated Bank of America’s decision to contribute $1M toward the RiverFirst Capital Campaign. Bank of America’s choice to include us among its signature Anchor grant recipients elevates the transformation of Minneapolis’s riverfront to a national stage. With their grant, we are now within $600,000 of our commitment to the Minneapolis Park Board for starting construction at Water Works. Damon Farber and HGA’s beautiful designs will provide Minneapolis with a destination befitting the dynamic location of St. Anthony Falls. We are grateful to the many people and companies who have joined Bank of America in supporting RiverFirst and those who are actively working with many more to close that gap by January.
Further upstream, the final stages of design for the future Great Northern Greenway River Link at 26th Ave N will give residents in North Minneapolis their first new access to the Mississippi River in a generation at the end of a newly completed bike and pedestrian trail. For this section of the river, completing the River Link will be just a beginning. The efforts by the community to develop Upper Harbor Terminal, as well as the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board’s recent agreement with Graco Company to build a park adjacent to newly created Hall’s Island, foreshadow future riverfront greening.
And beyond RiverFirst, the Parks Foundation was able to support, with an anonymous gift and a partnership with the Cedar Isles Dean Neighborhood Association, the construction of a new wash station and restroom at Cedar Lake that will serve thousands of bikers and walkers traveling through the Kenilworth corridor. At the Jim Lupient Water Park, the ongoing generosity of the Lupient Family continues to support swim scholarships, culturally appropriate swimwear, and the early stages of design for a future bathhouse. This last effort will set the stage to potentially replace the current inadequate structure, built in 1968 for a different pool complex and different generation.
We need your help to make 2018 a complete success. Our work depends on the generosity of donors and we set our goals based on the level of donations we get each year. If you haven’t made an end-of-the-year donation yet, please do. With your contributions, we will do even more in 2019 – initiate construction of two RiverFirst signature parks, lead more Walk & Talks, host more Next Generation of Parks events, and steward new philanthropy in support of a world-class park system. Please join me in making a gift to the Minneapolis Parks Foundation and then join us as we celebrate the transformation. Thank you!