10 Reasons to Celebrate the RiverFirst Campaign

June 20, 2019 by Madeleine Koski

With the launch of the RiverFirst Campaign this week, it is only fitting to write a listicle on the many amazing reasons to celebrate this landmark Campaign and why we hope YOU will consider supporting this vision with a donation.

The RiverFirst Campaign is supporting two main projects: An overlook connecting the Great Northern Greenway/26th Ave. in North Minneapolis to the mighty Mississippi River and a beautifully reimagined community space along the river in downtown Minneapolis, called Water Works. Each of these brings newfound connection to the natural environment that surrounds us, as well as connection to the communities we live in.

With open air pavilions, a restaurant, green spaces, and walking and biking paths, there is so much to look forward to. But now it’s up to you – our parks supporters – to make this vision truly come to life.

Overview of the RiverFirst Vision — Connecting Parks and Waterways Across the City with Pedestrian and Bike Trails

1) Fulfilling a 130 year vision for Minneapolis Parks

For the first time in generations, Minneapolis has the opportunity to fulfill a founding vision of our park system, by connecting every corner of the city to a continuous riverfront park network on the banks of the mighty Mississippi.

After years of creating and planning, the RiverFirst Initiative is preparing to break ground in 2019 on two visionary projects. It is time for us to reconnect to the natural landscape of Minneapolis and embrace the foundations on which it was built.

2) Impacting generations to come

The RiverFirst projects – Water Works and the Great Northern Greenway Overlook – will not only serve our community today, but they will leave a lasting impact for generations to come. As we acknowledge a disconnect from the Mississippi river in many parts of Minneapolis, these projects lay a pathway between the natural landscape and our urban expansion.

3) Creating a river overlook on the Northside

The Great Northern Greenway Overlook will be the first river overlook on the Northside. As the riverfront in this area is largely lined with industrial commerce, this is a great opportunity for the surrounding community to find access to the river.

4) Connecting the Grand Rounds and Great Northern Greenway to the river

Overview of the 26th Ave N Bike and Pedestrian Trail

The 26thAve N bike and pedestrian trail is a recently completed project that connects the Grand Rounds at Theodore Wirth Regional Park with the Mississippi River through the heart of North Minneapolis. The Great Northern Greenway Overlook will add a compelling public space to the east end of this bike and pedestrian trail.

5) Pavilion with views overlooking St. Anthony Falls

View of the Water Works Site Looking South Towards the Stone Arch Bridge

At Water Works, there will be a beautifully designed pavilion at the water’s edge that both embraces our mill history and provides needed modern conveniences. It will also bring added vantage points of St. Anthony Falls and a place for respite for walkers and bikers after crossing the Stone Arch Bridge.

6) City Steps

View of the Water Works City Steps and Open Lawn

Beautiful city steps where you can sit, eat, or meet will scale between levels in the park, showcasing stunning views up and down the Mississippi River.

7) Nature Play Area

A fun, family-friendly nature-inspired play area will be a wonderful place for children and their adults. This will become an immersive space with natural recreation to play on.

8) The Sioux Chef

Founder / CEO Chef Sean Sherman and Co-owner / COO Dana Thompson

The Sioux Chef created by Chef Sean Sherman, focused on revitalizing Native American Cuisine, will bring a wonderful new restaurant and cuisine to the waterfront.

“We are a team of Anishinaabe, Mdewakanton Dakota, Navajo, Northern Cheyenne, Oglala Lakota, Wahpeton-Sisseton Dakota and are ever growing. We are chefs, ethnobotanists, food preservationists, adventurers, foragers, caterers, event planners, artists, musicians, food truckers and food lovers.” — The Sioux Chef

9) Free and open 365 days a year

Wintertime at the Future Water Works Site

The best part about it? It’s available all year-round! And you don’t need to pay an entrance fee to enjoy the park. Just head right over to connect with others, nature, or yourself.

10) People who help are happier

Sources say individuals who help others and take time to fulfill the needs of others are happier people. The Secret to Happiness is Helping Others

The RiverFirst Campaign is officially underway! Be happy and join your community in supporting RiverFirst. Consider donating to this decades long initiative and help bring access to the Mississippi River back into our city. Show your support here. Thank you!

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