I-35W project revives hope to link Grand Rounds Scenic Byway

The Grand Rounds Scenic Byway system links together most of the parks in Minneapolis, but there's a gap between the northeast and Mississippi River segments.

“The idea of the Grand Rounds has evolved over time - to try and make sure it touches every portion of the city and this is one bit of it that has never really been built,” said Minneapolis Park Board Director of Strategic Planning Adam Arvidson.

Arvidson is hoping to get closer to completing the link. The project got a jump start from MnDOT and the City of Minneapolis as part of the I-35W resurfacing project this summer.

“They're going to be reconstructing off-ramps, pedestrian ramps and trails underneath a bridge there, so we really want to get into that mix while the opportunity is there,” said Arvidson.

The portion covers the section at the end of Ridgway Parkway underneath the I-35W bridge to Industrial Boulevard.

“This is going to feel like a little bit right now, but it sets the tone for the rest of that project and eventually getting from St. Anthony Parkway to the river,” he said.

Arvidson says the Park Board will also host community meetings beginning next week as another part of the process to fulfill the vision of the original planner of the Grand Rounds, Horace Cleveland. The next meeting will be held at Luxton Park in southeast Minneapolis on February 22 at 6:30 p.m.

“The Park Board has had a vision since the 1880s, so we're not just nine years in, we're a hundred years in,” said Arvidson. “These things take a long time, but we continue to have the investment in making sure the entire city is connected with a high-quality trail and parkway system.”

The City and Park Board are contributing a combined $595,000. The rest would be supplied by MnDOT as part of the I-35W reconstruction project. The City Council is currently considering the funding. A MnDOT spokesperson says construction will begin in July.