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Minneapolis Parks Foundation > Common Ground > Projects > RiverFirst > Two Walks to the Mississippi River

Two Walks to the Mississippi River

Last Saturday afternoon – in what might have been the best weather of 2022 so far – I joined community members on a short walk along the Upper Mississippi Riverfront at Ole Olson Park to explore the future extension of the West River Trail connecting Water Works and the Central Riverfront to the 26th Avenue North bikeway and the Overlook at 26th Ave N.   

Four days later, the Minneapolis Parks Foundation hosted our first Walk & Talk of the season leading from Farview Park in North Minneapolis along the 26th Avenue greenway to the Overlook, sharing stories with each other about the changes to the community over many decades. We have also developed an online companion tool for those who wish to take the walk on their own.

On its own merits, the future West River Trail extension is an exciting project that will connect North Minneapolis to riverfront trails across Minneapolis and the whole region. Systemically, it served as a reminder to me of the methodic and deliberative process unfolding in our generation to reconnect the Minneapolis riverfront to the community through parks and trails.

The timeline for the design phase will run into the early fall with an anticipated construction of the trail to begin in 2023.  The funding was provided, in part, through the state through capital improvement bonding and from our $18 million RiverFirst Capital Campaign. And while the Overlook has welcomed visitors for more than a year, the connection to the trail system will open the river to countless more visitors.

West River Trail extension engagement event hosted by MPRB. Photos by Dan Miller.

The work of the Parks Foundation extends beyond single points on the map. Our work continues to remain rooted in developing deeper community connections to ensure that the parks that we help improve are used by a variety of people for a myriad of purposes. Our work is about connecting people to each other and creating sharing stories about who we are as a city. 

Each of these investments are possible because of people like you who have engaged in our story, believed in the promise of parks in Minneapolis and continued to support this work.  Whether it’s through targeted community investments of the People for Parks Fund, Walk & Talk Events,  or broader capital campaigns like RiverFirst, our work is unfolding each year and engaging more people in the solutions. All it takes to truly appreciate your impact is to take a walk in the park with us.

Featured image: Farview Park to the Overlook at 26th Ave N Walk & Talk, May 2022

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