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.
More information about RiverFirst can be found at these websites: