Issues Addressed by the Master Plan
Parks and Parkways Development
- Creation of a continuous riverside park corridor is a primary objective of the Plan.
- Recommendations are given on specific park areas, size of open space, and programming.
- A wide variety of experiences are included, from an urban promenade to park landscaping focused on habitat restoration.
- An innovative parkway alignment is suggested to remove vehicular traffic from a portion of the waterfront and buffer different land uses.
Access to the River
- Current lack of access to the river is addressed by the Plan with new parks and trails along both banks.
- A Riverway Street System is proposed to parallel new riverfront parks and connect to existing neighborhoods.
- Two pedestrian decks over the interstate are included making a direct connection from north Minneapolis to the river.
- A railroad bridge is identified for conversion to a pedestrian and bicycle boardwalk, while overlooks and boating facilities offer visual and physical contact with the water.
- The Plan gives specific recommendations for riverbank stabilization and restoration to improve the ecological and visual condition of banks along the Upper River.
- Water quality ponds are a key feature, designed to meet current standards for retaining and filtering run-off in redevelopment areas.
- Wildlife habitat in the river corridor is increased and connected through landscape restoration proposals.
- Existing neighborhoods will receive major benefits from the planned parks, redesigned streets, and associated economic development. A regional park is outlined, to give north and northeast Minneapolis communities a waterfront amenity equal to those found in south Minneapolis, but a facility that also recognizes the unique culture and opportunities of the Upper River area.
- Realization of the plan will raise property values on the city's north side, while providing an incentive for current residents to stay in their community. Public projects will act as a catalyst to private investment in existing and new housing stock, as well as new business starts.
- As a major thoroughfare along the river, Marshall Street is a key concern to residents of northeast Minneapolis and adjoining communities.
- The Plan calls for a new streetscape along Marshall-greener, less cluttered, and safer.
- As the boundary to a new continuous park, reconstruction of Marshall is expected to spur long-term private redevelopment of housing facing the river.
- The Plan discusses barging from the perspective of land use, concluding that large areas devoted to open storage of bulk materials return little to the City in terms of jobs and tax revenue.
- Economics of lock and channel maintenance are explored, showing that public subsidies are high on this last stretch of the Mississippi lock system, and difficult to justify given alternatives in the region.
- Conflicts between some heavy industries and nearby properties are unavoidable given the nature of these operations.
- While these businesses provide needed services to society, the Plan confirms that the Upper River is too valuable and too close to existing neighborhoods and the heart of the city for this land use to continue indefinitely.
- A transition to light industry and other land uses is recommended.
- One of the great architectural and cultural resources of the Upper River is the former Grain Belt Brewery complex.
- The Plan proposes a mixed-use development focusing on meeting, hospitality, and entertainment facilities.
- In a radical departure from past land uses along the Upper River, the Plan captures the true potential of planned park and parkway development by proposing major new residential developments.
- A new neighborhood is planned for the west bank, allowing a richer mix of land uses and guaranteeing that the new parks will be used and safe.
- The Plan creates a new space in which the City of Minneapolis can meet Metropolitan Council growth objectives.
- With the recommendation to phase out intermodal terminals as a land use on the Upper River, the corridor will experience fewer trucks and rail cars moving through.
- At the regional scale, new residential development along the Upper River, within minutes of downtown and easily accessed by transit or bicycle, will take thousands of daily commuter trips off expressways.
- A move away from bulk-material-handling industries to light manufacturing, back office, and research facilities is promoted as an overall objective of the Plan.
- Riverfront park amenities will attract business development to designated areas on the west bank, with higher job densities and quality structures.
- In addition to light manufacturing and office employment, new areas for riverfront hospitality and entertainment venues will provide opportunities for job creation in the service sector.
Last updated Oct. 26, 2011