On September 7 the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) published a concept plan for a new regional park at the Upper Harbor Terminal (UHT) site along the North Minneapolis riverfront. Check out the plan for a new park along the North Minneapolis riverfront and let them know what you think. The concept plan will be open for the public comment period ending Thursday, October 21. View the park concept plan and companion public art plan and give feedback at minneapolisparks.org/planning.
Project Background: The MPRB and City of Minneapolis have been working with community members to create a plan to redevelop the Upper Harbor Terminal (UHT) site since the closure of the Upper St. Anthony Falls Lock and Dam ended barge traffic to the site in spring 2015.
The MPRB is moving forward with plans for a 19.5-acre park at the 48-acre site and has roughly $8 million budgeted for the first round of park improvements. The published concept plan was created after more than 100 meetings, tours and other public events to listen to Northside community members about their aspirations and concerns about developing the site.
The engagement process focused on reaching people where they are, through multiple ways of communication and methods of engagement, at a range of events and locations. See the Community Engagement tab on the Upper Harbor Terminal Regional Park project page for notes and details about the community engagement process up to this point.
The City of Minneapolis is planning redevelopment of the site not occupied by the upcoming regional park. Visit upperharbormpls.com for updates and information on the City’s redevelopment plans for the rest of the site.
Park Design Principles
• Begin with a park design that is “just green enough” to counteract the possibility of green gentrification.
• Design a park that is flexible and adaptable to future changes.
• Develop a park design that can be deliberately programmed and activated to support the needs and desires of the north Minneapolis communities.
• Ensure the park design meets the requirements to secure future regional park funding.
Park Design Priorities
• Improve ecological systems along the River.
• Opportunities for public art and cultural communications.
• Places for interpretation and learning.
• Stormwater management and improved habitat areas.
• Opportunities for green job creation, public science and programming focused on creation of green skills.
• The option of a variety of indoor spaces (temporary indoor space, space shared within a redevelopment building, or a permanent public building on park land).
Site History: The Upper Harbor Terminal (UHT) site was part of the huge area that was taken from the Dakota people by the U.S. Government through the 1851 treaties at Traverse des Sioux and Mendota. A Native American Context Statement and Reconnaissance Level Survey Supplement report was completed in 2016. This study indicated that a Native American trail along the River went through or past the UHT site; no other known site connections to Native American history were highlighted in the report.
Uses prior to development of the site as a barge terminal included lumber yards and mills and, later, commercial gardens. The portion of the site between Washington Avenue and I-94 had included some homes and small commercial/industrial structures before being acquired and cleared by the Minnesota Department of Transportation for construction of I-94. The cleared parcels subsequently were conveyed to the City as excess highway right-of-way and added to the UHT site.
Between 1968 and 1987, the Upper Harbor Terminal site was developed as an inter-modal barge shipping terminal located at almost the head of commercial navigation on the Mississippi River. The barge terminal remained in operation until the end of 2014 when barging ceased due to the planned closure of the Upper St. Anthony Falls Lock in spring of 2015. The site operation then shifted to interim use to store commodities that are trucked to and from the site.
To learn more about this project and the plans visit minneapolisparks.org/planning.