B.F. Nelson Park is ideally situated to be an extraordinary regional attraction along the banks of the Mississippi River in northeast Minneapolis. The 12-acre park is nestled between Boom Island and Nicollet Island on Marshall St. between 3rd and 6th Ave. NE. It was once the site of the B. F. Nelson Manufacturing Company, a roofing, lumber and paper manufacturing business.
A $775,000 grant from the Mississippi Watershed Management Organization (MWMO) is earmarked for planning and initial park development. The grant provides funding for the design process and initial construction to convert the property.
According to the site’s Master Plan, which provides a vision for long-term development, the park will largely remain a passive greenspace. Potential features include hiking trails, wetlands, meadows, a prairie, observation and viewing areas, historical interpretive features and restrooms. While the MWMO grant will not fund all of these improvements, preliminary work may include earthwork, preliminary trail development and shoreline, wetland and native plant restorations.
Plans includes the relocation of the Pioneer Statue onto the B.F. Nelson site. The statue, which was first unveiled in 1936 and is currently located at the corner of 5th Ave. NE and Marshall St., commemorates the courage and hard work of early settlers to the area. It has been moved twice since its unveiling at Gateway Park. The St. Anthony West Neighborhood Organization (STAWNO) is raising funds to restore the statue and have it placed across the street in the new park.
The park is named after B.F Nelson who served on the City Council, Minneapolis School Board and Park Board Commissioner.
Historical Profile: More information about this and other parks is included in Parks, Lakes, Trails and So Much More, a richly detailed account of the histories of Minneapolis’ renown recreational system.