A 35-foot light pole will serve as a beacon for visitors to the first new riverfront park space in north Minneapolis since 2007.
The Minneapolis Parks Foundation raised $18.1 million to help pay for the 26th Avenue North Overlook and Water Works redevelopment of Mill Ruins Park in downtown Minneapolis. On Tuesday, the foundation and the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board announced the completion of the overlook.
Abutting the Mississippi River at N. 26th Avenue in the Hawthorne neighborhood, the overlook is an oval platform encircling the light pole, which can display a variety of colors.
Play netting stretches between the beacon and the platform, which is wrapped in a steel railing designed by the teen-staffed cultural center Juxtaposition Arts. It tells a story of the river transforming from nature to industry and back to nature.
"Minneapolis is blessed with incredible water resources. We have our lakes, our creek and one of the world's greatest rivers, the Mississippi," said Parks Superintendent Al Bangoura. "Nearly all of that is owned and operated by the public, or for the public. Downtown, south and southwest Minneapolis enjoy nearly complete and uninterrupted access to its waterfront. We strongly believe that north and northeast deserve the same level of access."
Juxtaposition Arts' Environmental Design Studio apprentices led five years of civic engagement around the overlook that included bicycling and kayaking trips along north Minneapolis' riverfront.
"It's a model for the future, being able to center young people in their communities, and have something that North High alum could be proud of, [Patrick] Henry can be proud of," said Roger Cummings, Juxtaposition Arts' chief cultural producer. "They can come here and say, 'Look at this. This was something that one of our alums was a part of creating.' "
James Garrett Jr. of 4RM+ULA was the overlook's lead designer and Satoko Muratake of Ten x Ten was the landscape architect. To protect birds, the beacon at the overlook won't be lit during the spring and fall migrations.
The construction of Interstate 94 in the 1970s cut north Minneapolis off from the Mississippi River. The overlook is the first new park project on the North Side riverfront since the development of Ole Olson Park in 2007.
Upcoming park projects meant to reconnect industrialized north and northeast communities to the water include a shoreline trail connecting the 26th Avenue Overlook to Ole Olson Park, for which Minneapolis Park and Recreation received $3 million in state bonding, and the 19-acre riverfront park included in the Upper Harbor Terminal redevelopment.
The Minneapolis Parks Foundation will announce the opening of Water Works, overlooking St. Anthony Falls, next week. It includes public seating, a playspace and a restaurant pavilion managed by the Sioux Chef.
Susan Du • 612-673-4028