Father Hennepin Bluffs Park (Excerpt from Central Mississippi Riverfront Master Plan, 2016)

  1. Project background and fundingFather Hennepin Bluffs Park lies on the upland por­tion of the park and Hennepin Island spans the portion of the park down the bluff along the wooded river floor. Because of the topographic change, these two adjacent parks have their own unique character and program­ming function

    The goal for Father Hennepin Bluffs is to improve circulation and park func­tion while opening up the park edge to the street and surrounding neighborhoods. This upland area would continue to be programmed for medium sized events, concerts, and picnicking.

    MPRB has dedicated $1,000,000 in operations and maintenance funds for upgrades to the upper portion of Father Hennepin Bluffs Park.

    A public prioritization process is underway to determine which improvements will be prioritized in the first phase of funding and construction. The scope of the improvements is derived from the Central Mississippi Riverfront Master Plan that was adopted in 2016 by the MPRB.

    The Master Plan identified the following focus areas that support the goals of the master plan:

    Supporting Initiatives

    1. Create a permeable park edge along Main Street that promotes connections to the neighborhood while strengthening the Park’s orientation towards the River. This could include the following initiatives:
    1.  Remove berming along the Main Street edge where appropriate.2.  Manage deciduous trees to maintain an over-story canopy, particularly as ash trees are re­moved over time, in a manner that also frames views to the River.
    1. Realign pedestrian and bicycle trails to meander close to the bluff edge in a manner that does not interfere with the band shell function.


    1. Build a new band shell away from the sensitive bluff edge in a manner that still maintains the open space of the park.


    1. Selectively remove degraded and/or invasive veg­etation to frame views to the river along the bluff edge.


    1. Clarify and emphasize pedestrian and bike circula­tion at the junction of the Stone Arch Bridge and 6th Avenue SE in a manner that reinforces the historic connection to the rail alignment. This could also include the following initiatives:


    1.  Provide a signature entry experience as out­lined in the East Bank interpretive plan.2.  Extend 6th Avenue Greenway design and cre­ate a programmable convertible street be­tween the 6th Avenue and Main intersection and the Stone Arch Bridge while still allowing University of Minnesota service vehicles and emergency vehicle access. Interpret the historic railroad alignment to pro­mote wayfinding for bicyclists and pedestrians.

      3.  Eliminate the utilitarian experience of the exist­ing cul-de-sac.

      4.  Provide a safe, accessible surface for bicyclists and pedestrians while still maintaining the his­toric cobblestones.

    1. Add a restroom facility and/or visitor orientation

    2. read about project master plan, budget, etc. and  take a survey

    3. 6 upcoming focus group meetings:

    Thursday, January 24, 2019, 6:30 pm
    First Congregational Church | 500 8th Avenue SE

    Saturday, January 26, 1 – 3 pm
    Father Hennepin Bluff Park | 420 Main Street SE
    More details coming soon

    Tuesday, January 29, 2019, 6:30 pm
    Pillsbury A-Mill | 315 Main Street SE

    Saturday, February 2, 10 – 11 am
    Pillsbury A Mill | 315 SE Main Street

    Saturday, February 2, 11 am – 12 pm
    Pillsbury A Mill | 315 SE Main Street