(Star Tribune file photo by David Brewster)

(Star Tribune file photo by David Brewster)

Minneapolis parks leaders want to turn a riverside eyesore into a new downtown park, and they're seeking the public's help.

The Minneapolis Parks Foundation and the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board are hosting a "designer-ask" community meeting on Thursday, Dec. 15, to generate ideas for reusing the former Fuji-Ya restaurant property.

The property, recently dubbed the Waterworks site because it housed the city's first water supply and fire fighting pumping station, has been owned by the park board for more than two decades. The property lies between Portland Avenue and the 3rd Avenue Bridge, between 1st Street S. and the Mississippi River.

Despite its favorable downtown riverfront location overlooking St. Anthony Falls, it hasn't been used recently for much more than parking.

The foundation and the park board are partnering in a feasibility study that will explore options for a park destination at the site. Architects Meyer, Scherer and Rockcastle will produce design and program options and financial analysis by February.

Next week's meeting will take place from 6 to 8 pm at the Mill City Museum. There will be a second meeting in February to critique options and review the team's findings.