Water Works

A RiverFirst Signature Project

Water Works represents the completion of a 30-year vision for the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board’s Mill Ruins Park, the third most popular park in Minneapolis with over 2.5 million visits annually.

Water Works is a transformative park development project overlooking St. Anthony Falls and the Stone Arch Bridge that will bring significant new historic, cultural, and recreational amenities to the most iconic location in Minneapolis and the region.

With an evolved concept introduced in May 2017, Water Works is conceived as a place to express embedded histories, tell important stories, and make new memories. Storytelling will be brought to life through the mill-embedded pavilion, tree-sheltered city steps, a naturalized playspace, and the potential for revealed mill-era ruins and artifacts. Over time, visitors will also add their own stories through art, play, performance, food, and social media.

Community engagement about the updated design is now underway. Visit the Minneapolis Park Board’s project page for the community engagement plan and activity updates.

Project Leadership

The Minneapolis Parks Foundation is co-leading Water Works with the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board, as part of the RiverFirst partnership. Specific roles are outlined in the 2015 RiverFirst Memorandum of Understanding (pdf).

Anticipated Phase 1 (Mezzanine) Key Dates & Milestones

  • 2017 – Cultural resources identification and Mezzanine Phase schematic design; deconstruction of Fuji Ya building
  • 2018 – Completion of Mezzanine Phase construction documents and start of construction
  • 2019 – Completion of Mezzanine Phase

Anticipated Phase 2 (Riverside) Key Dates & Milestones

  • 2019 – Schematic design begins for Riverside Phase
  • 2021 – Riverside Phase construction start
  • 2023 – Riverside Phase completion

Related Projects

26th Ave N Overlook + Greenway
Scherer site + Hall’s Island (MPRB)
Central Mississippi Riverfront Regional Park Master Plan (MPRB)
St. Anthony Falls Interpretive Plan and West Bank Interpretive Plan (St. Anthony Falls Heritage Board)

Earlier Milestones

(More links and downloads coming soon)

  • 2015 – Adoption in the Central Mississippi Riverfront Regional Park Master Plan
  • 2013-2014 – Conceptual design and community engagement
  • 2012 – Preliminary design explorations
  • 2001 – Mill Ruins Park opens to the public
  • 1985 – Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board acquires the land that will become Mill Ruins Park