Before Minneapolis was the “city of lakes,” we were a river city.

RiverFirst is a broad vision for transforming 11 miles of once-industrial Mississippi Riverfront as it flows through the heart of Minneapolis into a welcoming place for all people through improved habitat and miles of new interconnected parks and trails.

RiverFirst: Vision from Minneapolis Parks Foundation on Vimeo.

RiverFirst is a model public-private partnership for next-generation parks rooted in equity and cultural inclusion, community health and wellbeing, connections to the natural world, climate resiliency, and economic vitality.

With RiverFirst, the community has the opportunity to redefine its relationship to the river and transform the Upper Mississippi Riverfront into a world-class cultural and recreation destination – through restored habitat, access to vital amenities, and a network of interconnected parks and trails – as well as a place for equitable, sustainable economic growth.

The Minneapolis Parks Foundation is the primary philanthropic partner of the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board in RiverFirst, an initiative adopted by the Park Board in 2012 to develop riverfront parks and trails on both sides of the Mississippi River from the northern city limits to Downtown.

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Discover RiverFirst Signature Projects

RiverFirst signature projects provide unique opportunities for connecting with the Mississippi River and each other, through restored habitat, walking and biking trails, historical interpretation, artistic performance, and civic engagement.

Water Works
Construction near completion with a Grand Opening in Spring 2021
Grand opening of The Sioux Chef’s restaurant at Water Works in Spring 2021

Great Northern Greenway River Link
Construction near completion with a Grand Opening Spring 2021

Additional RiverFirst Projects (External Links)

Scherer site + Hall’s Island (Minneapolis Park Board)
East Bank Trail (Minneapolis Park Board)
Riverfront Park at Upper Harbor Terminal (Minneapolis Park Board, City of Minneapolis)

Related Plans (External Links)

RiverFirst Vision
Central Mississippi Riverfront Regional Park Master Plan (MPRB)
Above the Falls Master Plan Update (City of Minneapolis)
St. Anthony Falls Interpretive Plan (St. Anthony Falls Heritage Board)

Project & Campaign – Institutional Support

Bank of America
Carlson Family Foundation
City of Minneapolis
Edward R. Bazinet Foundation
General Mills Foundation
Hubbard Broadcasting Foundation
McKnight Foundation
Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board
Minnesota Twins Community Fund
Mississippi Watershed Management Org
Pohlad Family Foundation
RBC Wealth Management Foundation USA
Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation
Roers Investments
Schafer Richardson
St. Anthony Falls Heritage Board
Target Foundation
US Bank
Valspar Foundation
Weiser Family Foundation

RiverFirst Campaign Committee

Paul Reyelts, Chair
Stuart Ackerberg
Dan Avchen
Sue Bennett
Dorothy Bridges
Bob Bruininks
John Crosby
Tom Fisher
Joe Gibbons
Shawntera Hardy
Tom Paul
Tom Pohlad
Rich Varda
Frank Wilkinson

For more information on how you can support the RiverFirst Campaign, and for a full list of Individual Campaign Donors, visit our RiverFirst Capital Campaign Page!

YOUR DONATION helps ensure the parks in our city remain accessible, equitable and serving everyone.