Through our partnership in the RiverFirst Initiative, the Minneapolis Parks Foundation is championing the generational opportunity to create parks and trails on our Upper Mississippi River, the 5.5 miles above St. Anthony Falls that were heavily industrialized prior to the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board’s creation in the late 1800s. I’m excited to share with you an update on two signature RiverFirst projects now nearing completion.
Great progress is being made at the Great Northern Greenway Overlook at 26th Ave N, the first phase of the larger River Link project. Already, the Overlook platform is up and final steel erection is taking place in preparation for installation of the decking, which will be a combination of steel grating and sustainable Black Locust wood planking. At the center of this perch is a shielded programmable beacon, not yet lit. Also complete is shoreline rehabilitation and stabilization; further planting will take place in the coming weeks, when we’ll also at last see the Juxtaposition Arts-designed interpretive rail in place.
This work comes at a time when we’re striving to keep our physical distance while seeking out ways to come together in spirit. As completion of the Overlook nears, the Minneapolis Parks Foundation will announce plans for a community-centered commemoration of the first new project on the North Minneapolis bank of the Mississippi in nearly a generation. I hope you can join us!
At the Water Works site, progress is clearly evident in the planting of more than a dozen trees, including cedar and white pine, the former of which will be a star in the cuisine of The Sioux Chef, whose first restaurant is expected to open inside the pavilion in 2021. More planting will take place in the coming weeks, along with installation of lighting and pavers, further enhancing the character of this dynamic destination park. Inside the pavilion, the community spaces are really taking shape: With electrical, plumbing rough-ins, and interior framing at 99% completion, drywall installation began in July.
The park at Water Works is on schedule to be completed by late September or early October. As with the Overlook, the Minneapolis Parks Foundation is looking forward to celebrating this park opening in partnership with the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board this fall. We also anticipate hosting a pavilion grand opening and donor recognition event in spring 2021.
All of this great news comes as we look to complete the RiverFirst Capital Campaign. With just $440,000 left to raise of our $18.1 million goal, we’re grateful for the community leaders – institutions and individuals – who have stepped up in support of RiverFirst. If you haven’t given already, please consider a contribution to the campaign. Thank you!
And, if you’d like to get a glimpse of the Overlook and Water Works as they are completing construction, please register to join us Thursday, September 10, at 8:00-9:00am for our annual Sunrise on the Mississippi fundraiser (this year online!), where we will debut behind-the-scenes stories about these exciting new parks and the people who are helping bring them to life. Contact Christine Moir at Give@MplsParksFoundation.org to register.
Featured image: Filming at Water Works, with The Sioux Chef’s Sean Sherman and Dana Thompson.