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Minneapolis Parks Foundation > Common Ground > Projects > RiverFirst > News Release: MPF and MPRB seek Water Works Final Design and Cultural Resource Consultants

News Release: MPF and MPRB seek Water Works Final Design and Cultural Resource Consultants

Two Requests for Proposals released this week signal significant next step in bringing visionary expansion of Mill Ruins Park to life

Minneapolis, Minn. – This week the Minneapolis Parks Foundation (MPF) and the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board (Park Board) together released two Requests for Proposals (RFP) for the Mezzanine Phase of Water Works, a Mississippi riverfront park development project. Water Works will be a cultural and recreational destination on the Minneapolis Central Riverfront that builds on the site’s rich mill history, dramatic historic and natural features, and urban riverfront location to provide a one-of-a-kind experience at St. Anthony Falls. Water Works is a RiverFirst signature project, a cooperative initiative to transform the Minneapolis Riverfront with four new connected riverfront parks and miles of new trails.

The design services RFP seeks landscape architecture and architecture-led teams for schematic design through construction administration of the $10.87 million Mezzanine Phase of Water Works. Construction will begin in 2017 and finalize in 2019. The Mezzanine Phase encompasses about 2.5 acres of the six-acre project area, from West River Parkway to 1St Street South, and Third Avenue to Portland Avenue. Construction of the later Riverside Phase of Water Works is slated to begin in 2021 and be completed in 2023. The Cultural Resources RFP addresses the entire Water Works site and will inform both phase one and phase two construction.

Aspects of the Water Works project were envisioned 30 years ago, when the Park Board and its partners created Mill Ruin Park. In 2015, the Park Board adopted the current Water Works conceptual design, which was created through a nearly three-year process with the community.

“With the release of these RFPs, we are taking a substantial step toward realizing the transformative Water Works design,” says Tom Evers, Executive Director of the Minneapolis Parks Foundation. “Developing this tremendous cultural asset has been a goal for many decades. Since 2012, the Minneapolis Parks Foundation, together with the Minneapolis Park Board and with passionate and dedicated community involvement, has been honored to breathe new life into the vision and see it through completion.”

The Water Works concept calls for unearthing and protecting the site’s historic mill ruins, while establishing a harmonious blend of natural and cultural features. Planned parkway and trail realignment will improve mobility throughout the site, which already sees nearly 2.5 million visits annually. A park pavilion will provide needed year-round amenities for the district, which encompasses popular attractions, including St. Anthony Falls and the Stone Arch Bridge.

Firms interested in responding to either RFP may download it from Respondents to the Mezzanine Phase design services RFP mustare required to attend a mandatorythe pre-proposal meeting on Thursday, March 17. Proposals are due in April. A selection committee will evaluate submissions, interview shortlisted teams, and make a recommendation to the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board of Commissioners for selection. MPF and the Park Board expect to announce team selection in May 2016 with work to begin immediately following.

About the Minneapolis Parks Foundation

The Minneapolis Parks Foundation is an independent, donor-supported nonprofit that brings visionary leadership, philanthropic investment and private sector expertise to support innovation and equity throughout the Minneapolis park system. It co-leads the RiverFirst Initiative with the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board and is responsible for private fundraising and implementation of the Water Works and 26th Ave N to Ole Olson projects. MPF supports innovative Minneapolis parks projects through equity funding and champions world-class design through its Next Generation of Parks™ Lecture Series. Get involved at


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