Northside riverfront overlook expected to break ground this fall


The Minneapolis Parks Foundation and the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board recently shared the updated vision for the Great Northern Greenway Overlook, which will link North Minneapolis to the Mississippi River through an iconic new park destination.

Along with the announcement, the Parks Foundation has extended an invitation to the public to participate in the RiverFirst Capital Campaign, which will bring $17.9 million in philanthropic contributions to create transformative parks on the City’s Upper Riverfront. The two RiverFirst projects supported through this public campaign, Water Works and the Great Northern Greenway Overlook, are expected to break ground in 2019 and be open for the enjoyment of all in 2020.

Community members are invited to become a part of the historic effort – the largest philanthropic campaign to create new parks in Minneapolis – by contributing any amount at Every gift through December 31, 2019, will be generously matched by the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation, up to $250,000.

Project Details: Great Northern Greenway Overlook & Water Works

The Great Northern Greenway Overlook – which is the first project in a larger multi-phase Great Northern Greenway River Link plan – is located at the east end of 26th Avenue N where the City of Minneapolis recently completed an off-street bike and pedestrian trail that connects the Grand Rounds at Theodore Wirth Regional Park with the Mississippi River through the heart of North Minneapolis.

Features will include an oval loop trail that will perch like a nest above the riverbank, a 50-ft-tall beacon, visible from a distance of half a mile or more, and opportunities for “pop-up” interactive experiences and temporary art installations. Elements of the Overlook concept are informed by engagement and design ideas developed by Environmental Design Studio apprentices at Juxtaposition Arts, a partnership brought to the project by the Parks Foundation.

The broader vision for the project includes connections to downtown Minneapolis and West River Road trails, together with new parks stretching north and south from the Overlook along the riverfront. Once complete, the full River Link will unite downtown to North Minneapolis along the river, open up a new 40-mile trail loop in Minneapolis, and eventually reach to Northeast across the river.

The Overlook’s companion project is Water Works in the Central Mississippi Riverfront Regional Park. Already home to iconic landmarks, including St. Anthony Falls and the Stone Arch Bridge, Water Works will be an expansion of Mill Ruins Park and become a much-needed destination for the more than 2.5 million annual visitors to the area, a number that is expected to double in the next decade. Among the new amenities will be a park pavilion with a restaurant by James Beard Award-winning The Sioux Chef; revealed and restored historic mill remnants; a city steps gathering and performance space; and places to picnic and play.

Both projects are expected to break ground in late summer or early fall of 2019. The Overlook’s grand opening is anticipated in spring 2020, with the Water Works grand opening to follow in fall of the same year. Learn more at