Minneapolis Parks Foundation Next Generation of Parks

The Foundation’s mission is to enhance the quality of life for the greater Minneapolis community by visioning, investing in, and advocating for the Minneapolis park system and other open green spaces.  Our civic leaders 125 years ago had the opportunity and foresight to create the park system we have today. As those who came before us, we, too, must take advantage of an historic moment and plan for future generations with the Next Generation of Parks.

“These two intensive days of briefings and presentations represent the apex of a six-month collaborative effort to transform a brilliant-but-conceptual design for city-building into a visionary blueprint that will guide the near- and long-term future of Upper Riverfront parks development,” says Mary deLaittre, Project Manager for the MR|DI, who notes that an exhaustive list of participating individuals and organizations will be recognized and thanked in the draft report. “But our preparation and presentation of the draft report is by no means the culmination of this project, which began long before the MR|DI and includes the work of so many. Following public comments on the draft report, Park Board planning department staff will set the pace when they present recommendations to Park Board Commissioners later this fall.” 

In April 2011, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board established the Minneapolis Riverfront Development Initiative as a special project to carry through the promise of connecting people from near and far with new multifunctional Upper Riverfront parks along “America’s fourth coast.” The MR|DI was charged with transforming the winning parks design of the renowned Minneapolis Riverfront Design Competition, called RiverFIRST, from a visionary concept to a workable plan for short- and long-term development. Beginning in April, TLS/KVA went through a three-month in-depth editing process led by the MR|DI project team and involving the public and Steering, Advisory and Technical committees. From June through August, the MR|DI implemented a multidimensional community engagement process that included a community input survey taken by more than 600 people, participation in more than 30 community events, three public meetings, more than 40 solo presentations and meetings by the MR|DI project manager, and the debut of “River Is,” a gathering of people’s thoughts about the Mississippi today and for the future. This fall, Park Board Commissioners will decide the scope and timing of the first RiverFIRST projects, to be enjoyed by the community within five years.

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