Project Location

The Lowry Connector south to Hall’s Island

Project Manager

Cliff Swenson

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Language Resources

Correo Electró


Current Phase: Construction Documents

RiverFirst logo Minneapolis Riverfront Development Initiative logo

What's New

See All Project Activity


Project Milestones

  • Currently working on agency permits for the re-creation of Hall’s Island at the former Scherer Bros. lumber site

Project History

May 2013

May 1-2, 2013

March 26, 2013

  • Project Update [PDF] to the Above the Falls Citizen Advisory Committee (CAC)
January 15-16, 2013

November 30, 2012

  • Information Packet [PDF] from meeting with regulatory agencies regarding RiverFirst proposal for Scherer Bros. site

November 29, 2012

  • Design team visit #3 and working meetings

October 11, 2012

  • Design team visit #2 and working meetings

August 28, 2012

  • Design team visit #1 and working meetings

August 1, 2012

  • Board Action - Park Board Authorizes Professional Services Agreements for Schematic Design of RiverFirst Priority Projects

March 29, 2012

March 14, 2012

September 21, 2011

August 3, 2011

April 6, 2011

April-September 2011

  • Transition from Design Competition to the Riverfront Development
  • The RiverFirst design team refined the vision through extensive community engagement, gathering input from the public and three stakeholder committees: Steering, Technical and Advisory.

October 2010-February 2011 

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Past Community Engagement

View Community Engagement Plan [PDF]


  • Six large, scheduled public meetings were held
  • The design team and MRDI representatives met with over 100 individuals and half as many organizations in key communities and areas of relevant expertise
  • A community input survey taken by more than 600 people
  • Promotion and participation occurred in more than 30 community events throughout Minneapolis
  • Three additional public meetings held in association with the City of Minneapolis and the Minneapolis Riverfront Partnership
  • More than 40 presentations and meetings were held with neighborhood associations, community-based non-profit organizations, agencies and other stakeholder groups
  • Seven paid, part-time and full-time “youth ambassador” interns represented the MRDI at more than 35 community events
  • The debut of "River Is," a figurative gathering of people's thoughts about the Mississippi today and for the future
  • April-September 2011 Summary
  • October 2010-February 2011 Summary

Minneapolis Riverfront Development Initiative (MR|DI) Summary

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In August 2012, the Board contracted with the RiverFirst consultant design team to develop Schematic Design documents for several projects within the RiverFirst vision. This Community Engagement Plan is being presented to the Board at this time because staff has sought certainty about a broader engagement strategy through focused engagement with key regulatory agencies whose authority significantly influences the design. Throughout the team’s work, staff has regularly engaged with advisory committees as described below by informing them of the team’s progress and of the issues and the challenges faced.

While the RiverFirst team’s Schematic Design work is strongly rooted in the extensive Community Engagement conducted by the Minneapolis Riverfront Development Initiative (MRDI) throughout 2010‐2011 (see below), much of the RiverFirst vision is far outside the typical permitting experience of key State and Federal regulatory agencies. So, the team’s efforts have been focused on developing design documents that will address the many permitting and technical challenges presented by the vision, such that key regulatory agencies indicate generalconsent to further development of the designs. Once that is achieved, broader outreach with the general public will be conducted to engage with stakeholders around the team’s work while it is still in progress.

RiverFirst is a 20‐year vision for Mississippi-riverfront parks that builds on our community’s rich river heritage and passion for parks, nature and wildlife to create places on “America’s fourth coast” where neighborhoods and businesses can grow and people from near and far can experience one of the four great rivers of the world through world-class recreational and cultural activities.

The RiverFirst vision emerged from MRDI, a visionary planning effort for the Minneapolis Upper Mississippi River corridor based on extensive research and analysis, design inquiry, community outreach, and consensus building. The Initiative was a collaboration among its sponsor, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB); two design firms Kennedy & Violich Architecture (KVA), Boston and Tom Leader Studio (TLS) Berkeley; HR&A Advisors, a real estate and economic development planning firm from New York City; and Groundwork City Building, a Minneapolis‐based planning firm which is responsible for guiding the process, with public relations firm Tableau.

This began in 2010 with an international design competition which awarded the commission to KVA/TLS out of 55 entries from around the world. It culminated with this comprehensive vision and implementation framework for 5.5 miles of the Minneapolis Upper Mississippi River corridor.

RiverFirst emerged from an international design competition that we hosted, with the goal of reinvigorating community energy and imagination around the upper riverfront.

At the Park Board’s meeting on March 14, 2012, following stakeholder engagement process and a standard 45‐day comment period, the Board approved the RiverFirst vision and authorized staff to pursue next steps including contracting with the TLS/KVA design team for schematic design work on select RiverFirst projects.

View the RiverFirst Scherer Park and Hall's Island 3D Fly Through Animation located on the Mississippi River at Eighth Avenue NE/Plymouth Avenue Bridge.


East Bank Trail

Scherer Bros. Site – New Park and Restored Hall’s Island

26th Avenue North River Overlook Pier

Plymouth Avenue Bridge Enhancements

Trails and Loops: Wayfinding Elements

22nd Avenue Northeast Greenway

Lowry Connector

Scherer Site Parcel D - Development Guidelines

Floating Wetlands Feasibility Study

West River Parkway Extension - Conceptual Alignment

More information about RiverFirst can be found at these websites:

RiverFirst Initiative