Minneapolis/ Community & Society
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Published on June 11, 2024
Minneapolis Celebrates Major Milestone in Upper Harbor Redevelopment with New Park VisionSource: Google Street View

Over the weekend, civic pride was palpable as Minneapolis leaders and community partners convened on the banks of the Mississippi River to mark a pivotal juncture in the Upper Harbor redevelopment effort. According to the City's recent announcement, the crowd, including Mayor Jacob Frey and the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB), ushered in the completion of initial infrastructural veins - roads, utilities, and more - and the launch of a transformative regional park vision.

Unveiled were the results of comprehensive Phase 1 efforts: upgraded Dowling Ave. N and 33 Ave. N thoroughfares, tying into the McKinley neighborhood, and the new West River Road. Utility framework laid underfoot, poised to supply the area's growing needs. The gathering toasted to these concrete milestones, with Mayor Frey emphasizing the city's intent to weave communities back into the riverside fabric, making the "mighty Mississippi River" a local rather than distant companion.

But this gathering was more than a ceremonial ribbon-cutting. It was a dive into the future – a new park slated to cover 20 acres, which will include a plaza, a lawn area of five acres inviting Dowling Avenue's travelers, and a mile of trails for those preferring bikes or their own two feet. According to MPRB Superintendent Al Bangoura's statement to the City's press release, this development marks "a massive milestone."

The vision for this slice of riverfront real estate is broad and inclusive, with pillars of accessibility and community betterment. It’s set to be punctuated with residential housing, spaces for small businesses, new job opportunities with living wages, and a performing arts center for North Minneapolis' cultural enrichment. Acting with community feedback at the helm, project leads aim to honor over two decades of dialogue and planning as distinctly emphasized by CPED Director Erik Hansen: fetchingly, a former barge shipping terminal's transformation into a bastion of "numerous community benefits."

This era of urban renewal, fueled by six years of community engagement and dialogue, models the framework of shared goalposts between policymakers and the people whose lives will turn around these developments – knitting together a future where green spaces, culture, and economic opportunities can flourish side by side, an aspiration echoed in both the infrastructure laid and the groundbreaking of a park that hopes to be as naturalized as the shoreline it will grace.