Concepts Begin To Emerge In Water Works Park Project

The following article by Ben Johnson was published in the October 10, 2013 issue of the Southwest Journal:


Last month initial concepts for Water Works park were presented to the public by representatives from the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB), the Minneapolis Parks Foundation and the private firms hired to design and build the park.

At this point no park features are set in stone, although basic ideas have begun to emerge for the planned park in between the Stone Arch and 3rd Ave. bridges along the Mississippi River.

The team behind the design of Water Works will focus on fixing disjointed pedestrian and bike circulation, opening up views of and access to the river, creating a terraced landscape that offers “places of movement” and “places of rest,” and making additional mill ruins open for exploration.

Mary deLaittre, executive director of the Minneapolis Parks Foundation, said that they were looking at revenue options, perhaps an onsite restaurant, to help fund yearly maintenance of the park.

Andrew Caddock, a MPRB project supervisor, hinted that the old Fuji-Ya building at the Water Works site could be demolished, calling it “pretty much beyond repair.”

State Rep. Phyllis Kahn (DFL-60B) asked about how the potential closure of the Upper St. Anthony Falls Lock and Dam could affect the park’s plans.

“That’s one of those issues that’s bigger than this area plan,” said Caddock. “For now we’re focusing on what the Park Board can do, and we’ll adjust if a decision is made.”

Water Works is one of nine sites the Central Mississippi Riverfront Master Plan is studying. The master plan covers both sides of the river from the 35W bridge in the south to the Plymouth Ave. bridge in the north.

The next public update on Water Works will be in mid-January, when a concept design and alternative designs will be presented. The final presentation of the park’s design is slated for mid-March.