MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) - Plans to reshape the waterfront along the Mississippi River in Minneapolis will soon take a big step. Next month, construction begins on the restoration of Hall's Island in Northeast Minneapolis.
The Scherer Bros. Lumber Company filled in the channel between the original shoreline and the island back in 1966, giving the company direct access to the Mississippi River.
More than 50 years later, priorities have changed. Crews will soon begin creating a new back channel and using clean fill to restore and expand the island.
“From bald eagles to salamanders, numerous species will benefit from the restored island vegetation and calmer waters of the back channel that will be recreated as part of this project,” said Stephanie Johnson, Mississippi Watershed Management Organization Projects and Outreach Director.
The efforts to restore Hall’s Island a key part of the Above the Falls Master Plan, an overall effort to increase riverfront access for people who live north and northeast of Downtown Minneapolis.
“The city is turning its back from the river, and putting their face toward the river,” said Liz Wielinski, MPRB Commissioner for District 1. “It started with the central riverfront, you see the Guthrie and we’re working our way upriver so we can have that access for everyone.”
The project will create a new gravel beach, providing better access for canoers or kayakers to access the river.
Restoration of the island is expected to be completed by next Summer, with Phase 1 budgeted at $6.7 million.
The island itself will initially remain off-limits to humans in an effort to establish native vegetation and wildlife habitats.