New parks planned along Mississippi River shoreline in north Minneapolis

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A new park is coming along the Mississippi River on a section of the shoreline in north Minneapolis that has always felt fenced off.

“Even standing right up here at the edge of the river you can still hardly see it,” said Minneapolis City Councilman Jeremiah Ellison of Ward 5.

In a small way, that’s about to change. A dead end at the end of 26th Avenue North is about to open up in a new park called, “The Overlook.”

“It’s kind of like having a large patio, right?” said Al Bangoura, Minneapolis Park and Recreation Superintendent. “It’s a circular overlook, so you’ll be able to walk to the edge and have a little overlook over the river. But, it’s a beautiful idea of sort of this gathering space, this circular kind of place with a spire up in the air. So, I think it’s a place just to gather. It’s a place of community.”  

But, it’s a place that will have to co-exist with trucks and traffic. Currently, the space is nothing more than an industrial area, which is surrounded by a chain link fence and even barbed wire. As it stands now, the site is not very inviting, and that’s what the park board wants to change. 

The site is one of several new parks planned along the Mississippi River north of downtown Minneapolis.

“Right now, we look at Graco and Hall’s Island and the Water Works that’s coming up here soon...some incredible places,” said Bangoura. "That’s going to be a lot of fun, continuing to expand our park system and giving the residents of Minneapolis areas where they can enjoy being outside and enjoy our park system.”  

It’s an effort to add park space in an area that has never had this kind of access before.

“Again, they’re going to realize that, hey, at the end that path where there used to be a lot of debris and trash, there’s now this beautiful overlook into the river and I’m feeling connected to it,” said Ellison.

The project is all part of the River First fundraising campaign through the Minneapolis Parks Foundation. Construction on the overlook begins next fall. It should open next summer.