Water Works

Now Open! Water Works at Mill Ruins Park

Come enjoy the sweeping views and places to gather and play on the grounds of the newly-opened Water Works at Mill Ruins Park. The pavilion and restaurant – Owámni by The Sioux Chef – will open later this summer.

About Water Works

Parks Grounds Now Open, Pavilion Opening Summer 2021

Water Works brings visitor services and recreational and cultural amenities to one of Minnesota’s most highly visited destinations – St. Anthony Falls and the Stone Arch Bridge.

The park and pavilion were conceived through years of engagement with community and are designed to reveal layers of untold stories, in acknowledgement of the location as both the birthplace of the city’s milling history and a spiritual place that has shaped cultural and economic connections for Indigenous people.

Outdoor features include:

  • General Mills Plaza serves as a gateway to Water Works from West River Parkway. The 1,800 square-foot lower patio features gas firepits adorned with Indigenous artwork and public seating shaded under a large Cottonwood tree that was preserved throughout construction.
  • Bank of America City Steps creates a series of terraced green spaces with social seating. A winding, accessible walkway connects the plaza to Columbia terrace above.
  • Columbia terrace offers an upper event area and lawn that will have outdoor seating for Owámni, along with a public walkway, landscaping and green space.
  • Nature Play Lab with playground and nearby sensory gardens welcomes unstructured play, designed with small children in mind, at the north end of the site near 3rd Avenue Bridge.

Park Highlights

Indigenous Interpretation
In addition to the restaurant, the park at Water Works will feature Dakota art and interpretation throughout the site, including a public art installation anticipated in 2022 by Native artist/s (the artist selection process is currently underway, led by the City of Minneapolis). Indigenous art and language elements, with interpretation and translation by Dakhóta Iápi Okhódakičhiye, include:

  • Plant labeling in Dakota and English throughout the grounds, indicating Native plants of edible, medicinal, and/or spiritual significance.
  • Interpretive engravings on the wood bench tops of the city steps featuring dots representing gallons of water diverted from the stormwater system through the site’s rainwater reuse program inter-related with Dakota language about the human relationship with water.
  • Dakota artwork engraved on the covers of the three round firepits.

Rainwater Reuse System
Through a public-private partnership, developed in consultation with and supported by the Mississippi Watershed Management Organization, rainwater collected from adjacent rooftops will be piped to holding tanks under the Water Works site, where it will be treated and repurposed for graywater and irrigation.

Owámni by The Sioux Chef

Owámni by The Sioux Chef, housed on the upper level of the Water Works Park Pavilion, will be the first restaurant for the globally acclaimed duo of Sean Sherman and Dana Thompson. In addition to providing a seasonal menu of Indigenous cuisine, The Sioux Chef will conceive and manage programming in the pavilion and on the grounds. The Sioux Chef plans to create events and educational opportunities to elevate Indigenous voices as part of its larger mission to promote Native American cultures, honor plants and natural resources, and foster a vibrant Indigenous food movement.

A RiverFirst Signature Project

Water Works is part of RiverFirst, a Minneapolis Park Board-led vision to transform the aging industrialized Minneapolis Upper Riverfront into a welcoming cultural and recreational destination for all residents and visitors, as well as an engine for equitable economic development for the Twin Cities region. The Minneapolis Parks Foundation’s $18.1 million RiverFirst Capital Campaign largely funded Water Works and a companion project, the Overlook at 26th Ave N.

Thank You RiverFirst Supporters

Thanks to the generous support from community and corporate partners, we have met the $18.1 million goal for the RiverFirst Campaign. For more information on the RiverFirst Campaign, visit our RiverFirst Initiative Page, and for a full list of Individual Campaign Donors, visit our RiverFirst Capital Campaign Page!

Image Galleries of Water Works at Mill Ruins Park

Water Works at Mill Ruins Park

Virtual Grand Opening of Water Works at Mill Ruins Park

Renderings and Plans of Water Works at Mill Ruins Park

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