On October 30, 2012, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) purchased 1720 Marshall Street NE, 1.74 acres and over 350 feet of Mississippi riverfront in northeast Minneapolis. The purchase furthers the vision of creating a continuous linear park along both sides of the Mississippi River through Minneapolis. The property lies within the Above the Falls Regional Park and is part of the visionary park proposal for Minneapolis’ upper riverfront called RiverFirst, adopted by the Park Board and City of Minneapolis in 2012.
“This acquisition will help us serve Northeast Minneapolis and the region, and is an opportunity to help ensure that future generations have the opportunity to enjoy the river,” said Liz Wielinski, Park District 1 Commissioner.
RiverFirst--A Design Proposal and Implementation Framework for the Minneapolis Upper Riverfront, was adopted by the Park Board in March, 2012, following almost two years of input, collaboration and support from the public, business community and local, regional and state agencies. RiverFirst encompasses the 5.5 miles of Mississippi River from the Stone Arch Bridge to the northern City limits, and builds upon the Above the Falls Master Plan to develop the land along the Mississippi River.
“Revitalizing the Mississippi Riverfront is a top priority for our Board, and this acquisition is an important part of linking together the parks, trails and green spaces,” said John Erwin, president of the MPRB Board of Commissioners. “In addition, this building gives us needed near-term shelter for our equipment, and allows us to close an antiquated facility to save resources.”
This leadership in preserving land along the city’s lakes, rivers and streams has earned the MPRB national recognition for its exceptional parks and trails. By the early 1900s visionary Park Board leaders had acquired most of the east and west riverfront of the river stretching from St. Paul to St. Anthony Falls for public parkland. Since 1993 the MPRB has led the charge to expand parkland to provide a connection from the downtown area north of the Falls.
“The Park Board wishes to extend its deep appreciation and thanks to two key funders who helped make this acquisition possible,” said Liz Wielinski. “The support of the Metropolitan Council and Mississippi Watershed Management Organization has been invaluable for critical riverfront purchases.”
The Metropolitan Council, through its Park Acquisition Opportunity Fund provided nearly $609,000. A complementary grant from the Mississippi Watershed Management Organization of more than $202,000 was combined with the Metropolitan Council grant to cover the cost of acquiring the land portion of the site. Together, these grants were vital in matching MPRB capital funds earmarked for this acquisition.
The industrial building on the property will be used for MPRB operations and equipment storage in the short term, and eventually a park will be developed on the property as part of a larger green corridor within Above the Falls Regional Park.