In 2020, an overlook will arrive on the North Minneapolis riverfront

A new nest-like overlook will rest above the Mississippi River, allowing for a beautiful and immersive view where 26th Ave. N dead ends with the river.  Illustration by Kailen Branson

A new nest-like overlook will rest above the Mississippi River, allowing for a beautiful and immersive view where 26th Ave. N dead ends with the river. Illustration by Kailen Branson

By Myesha Powell, Alissa Dummer-Simmons, Kailen Branson Intern Reporters

The Minneapolis Parks Foundation (MPF), Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board (MPRB), and the RiverFirst Initiative announced in a June 18 press conference that they will be teaming up to create the Great Northern Greenway River Overlook, an oval shaped trail that will sit above the Mississippi River bank and extend over the river’s shore with a 50-foot-tall beacon in the center. It will also include temporary art and other interactive entertainment and provide outdoor furniture and lighting. The overlook’s design and other elements are being created in part through a partnership with environmental designers at Juxtaposition Arts.

The overlook is set to be located on the dead end of 26th Ave. N at the river. The land there is undeveloped and overgrown and currently unsafe for visitors. Project leaders hope to give this unused space a new look that will provide the nearby community with a fun place to explore, fish, and enjoy art. The plan is to start construction in the Fall of 2019; the grand opening is anticipated to be sometime in the Spring of 2020. 

According to Twin Cities Business Magazine, the overlook will cost $4.5 million, with $1.5 million coming from the RiverFirst campaign, “a generational vision for transforming 11 miles of once-industrial Mississippi Riverfront as it flows through the heart of Minneapolis,” according to the RiverFirst website.

The overlook is being created to give the Northside community and visitors visual access to the Mississippi. According to Executive Director of MPF Tom Evers, “For too long North Minneapolis been separated from the river, and this is an opportunity to really start opening the door again for the neighborhood and for the community. RiverFirst is this bold vision.” 

The overlook sits at the end of the Great Northern Greenway, a bike path that currently stretches from Theodore Wirth Park to the river. There is also a desire to have a pedestrian and bike friendly bridge go across the river and into the Northeast area sometime in the near future. 

There is also a companion project to the overlook project called Water Works. The project will look out over the St. Anthony Falls and Stone Arch Bridge. It is an expansion to the Mills Ruins Park. The expansion will bring new amenities such as a park pavilion, new restaurant, and new picnic and play areas. The hope for this project is to increase annual visitors and revamp the area.

Kenzie O'Keefe