RiverFirst Minneapolis

RiverFirst is a multifaceted planning effort that combines research, design, community outreach, and consensus building. It covers 5.5 miles of the Mississippi River beginning near downtown Minneapolis and continuing north along some of the City’s more industrialized and poorly used riverfront. RiverFirst has been a collaboration between KVA and Tom Leader Studio from Berkeley, CA. The project began as an international competition sponsored by the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) and in September 2011 received approval from the MPRB to begin Schematic Design.

RiverFirst creates and enhances synergies among existing infrastructures, communities and ecological assets. The project is built on four responses to the challenges that face the 21st century city: Health, Mobility, Green Economy, and Water. Seven sites that present opportunities for near-term development include a continuous Riverfront Trails System with solar powered Park Wi-Fi network providing opportunities for local and national public education about the ecology of the Mississippi River; Bio-haven Islands providing more than 8 acres of protected riparian habitat for migrating birds and endangered wildlife; mixed use park development at the former Scherer Brothers property; an extension of Farview Park toward the riverfront; a Wetland habitat and Eco-Business Park at the current Upper Harbor Terminal site; a series of storm water ravines and mixed-use development along Marshall Street’s Northeast Bluffs; a Gateway Park to downtown Minneapolis; and a sacred place for the Dakota people at the former location of Spirit Island.