A new future for the downtown Minneapolis riverfront

The St. Anthony Falls locks and dams, now largely closed, represent intriguing opportunities for the downtown Minneapolis riverfront. (Photo copyright Steve Cronin for FMR)

A recent Star Tribune article highlights forthcoming plans for the downtown Minneapolis lock and dam system. In 2015, the Upper St. Anthony Falls lock and dam was closed to reduce the spread of invasive carp. Now, some initiatives are underway to consider how the upper lock's infrastructure could be reused.

The Army Corps of Engineers will be releasing an official study about lock ownership (laying out their options for the federal government to either keep it or turn it over) should be completed for the facility shortly.

The organization Friends of the Falls has been bringing together community stakeholders to envision how the site could serve as a riverfront visitor center and recreational hub.

Colleen O'Connor Toberman, our river corridor program director, spoke with the Star Tribune about this unique opportunity to explore what we want the future of our riverfront to be.

Later this year, the Army Corps will also begin studying the potential disposition of Lower St. Anthony Falls lock and dam, as well as Lock and Dam No. 1 (also known as the Ford dam, which could also have interesting implications for the Ford dumpsite just downstream). 

We're watching all of these plans closely. We're not yet committed to a specific outcome (more about our position on lock and dam removal), but we do expect that these project's leaders will conduct robust studies and community engagement processes.

Decisions this significant should incorporate many voices and as much information as possible about environmental, community, economic, and recreational impacts. 

Join the River Guardians

If you'd like to be notified of opportunities to weigh in on local riverfront plans or protect the river's health, sign up to be a River Guardian.


More from the river land use and development blog 

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