26th Ave North Overlook update

The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) is finalizing construction design and operation of the 26th Avenue North Overlook, which will link North Minneapolis to the Mississippi River through an iconic new park destination that includes a trail loop, gathering space and riverfront beacon.

The MPRB, and its partner in the 26th Avenue North Overlook the Minneapolis Parks Foundation, are excited to be close to breaking ground on the first new connection directly linking Northside neighborhoods to the river in nearly two decades.

About the 26th Avenue North Overlook: This project, also called the Great Northern Greenway River Link, is a major step in transforming the Mississippi River corridor through North Minneapolis into public parkland, parkway and trails. The overlook is located at the east end of the recently completed 26th Ave North Greenway, which connects the Grand Rounds at Theodore Wirth Regional Park with the Mississippi River through the heart of North Minneapolis neighborhoods.

The 26th Avenue North Overlook will celebrate the Greenway’s link to the river with a small but compelling public space that is now an unsightly, inaccessible dead-end street, where overgrown vegetation and a chain link fence blocks the river.

Features will include an oval loop trail that will perch like a nest above the riverbank, a riverfront beacon above the overlook that serves as a landmark on the Northside riverfront, 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.

With a budget of more than $1 million, the project scope includes shoreline rehabilitation and a river overlook with inventive approaches to lighting, furniture and art. A broader vision for the area includes connections to downtown and the West River trails, and new parks stretching north and south along the riverfront.

The project design incorporates Audubon Society guidelines to help protect migrating birds in the Mississippi Flyway. In addition, the MPRB hired a national expert on nighttime bird migration to perform an assessment of the project’s impact on migrating birds. Dr. J. Alan Clark found that the overlook and riverfront beacon “will likely have little, if any, measurable impact on migrating birds.” In his assessment, Clark also recommended additional potential actions that could further reduce harm to migrating birds.