For 12,000 years, the Mississippi River has powered through Minnesota, cascading over St. Anthony’s Falls, and scrawling a deep gorge like a signature through limestone and prairie. It was along the banks of this gorge and around the power source of the Falls that the city of Minneapolis was built. Later, roadways, rail lines and dam infrastructure further severed downtown from the Mississippi riverfront. SCAPE was commissioned to design a new park at this site, to transform the former West Side Milling District into a public space that reconnects the city with its historic riverfront. The new park excavates Mill Ruins from sediment and gravel and juxtaposes these historic industrial artifacts with a contemporary water landscape infrastructure that includes a wet-dry scrim foundation and a year-round weep-wall fed by stormwater. By improving public access to the riverfront site, exposing its history, and enhancing its ecology, Water Works park invites the public reconnect and remember at a site of tremendous cultural and historic significance.
- City of Minneapolis, Minnesota – Parks and Recreation Board
James Lima Planning and Development
SRF Consulting Group