Water Works

A RiverFirst Signature Project

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.

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.

Conceived as a place to express embedded histories, Water Works will both tell important stories and be a destination to 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 remnants and artifacts. Over time, visitors will also add their own stories through art, play, performance, food, and social media.

Restaurant & Event Venue with The Sioux Chef
In September, we announced the intent to partner with The Sioux Chef on the Water Works restaurant and event venue. The Sioux Chef is a diverse, Indigenous-led team committed to revitalizing Native American cuisine and reclaiming an important culinary tradition that has been long buried and often inaccessible. In addition to the restaurant, The Sioux Chef plans to create events and educational opportunities to amplify diverse voices into a larger dialogue about Native American cultures, the river, and cuisine.

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; archeological excavation of mill remnants
  • 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

RiverFirst
Great Northern Greenway River Link
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