Appropriate Development of the Third Greatest Riverfront in the World: The Mississippi River

When our City was founded, the Mississippi riverfront was a place of commerce and transportation. Wharfs and landings, warehouses and mills filled prime riverfront property. The City grew away from the river but development along the Mississippi was sporadic and disconnected.

Things have changed, in part because I championed development along the Mississippi Riverfront: I partnered with the Minneapolis Park board and founded the Minneapolis Riverfront Partnership. The Mississippi Riverfront is now rightly seen as the tremendous asset that it is.

Numerous planning efforts have created a vision for development and in the next few years we should see big projects underway that include the creation of green space, bike trails and parks, and business development. As City Council Member for many of the neighborhoods located along the Mississippi, I serve on two key committees and initiatives including the following:

RiverFIRST is a vision for sustainable development and preservation of the Mississippi River that was adopted by the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board as a guide for future riverfront development with these key goals:

  1. To establish parks as an engine for economic development along the river
  2. To transform the river from a barrier to a connector
  3. To re-focus the City toward the Mississippi River

RiverFIRST logoRiverFIRST has outlined projects to be completed over the course of the next 20 years in an effort to revitalize a 5.5 miles stretch along of the Mississippi River from the Stone Arch Bridge to the City limits. This included addressing feasibility issues while updating the existing “Above the Falls Plan” plan. I am a member of the RiverFIRST steering committee, working with Park Board members and staff, the Park Foundation, other elected officials, community and business members.

One element of this planning effort was Riverfront Design Competition held in 2011. Fifty-five design teams from around the country entered the competition to produce a comprehensive, integrated design for the 220 acres of parkland and surrounding neighborhoods along both sides of the Mississippi from the Stone Arch Bridge to the City limits. The winning design team was TLS/KVA.

The Minneapolis Riverfront Partnership, which I cofounded, is a non-profit organization that works “to facilitate and support coordinated revitalization of the Mississippi riverfront in Minneapolis.” Its 24-member board reflects the critical importance of private-public collaboration. Business leaders and community groups serve on the board along with public elected officials and appointed leaders. I serve on the executive committee.

As your City Council member, I will work with you to ensure that development along the Mississippi Riverfront contributes to, rather than detracts from, our community and that your voice is heard as plans are developed and implemented.