Long-awaited waterfront destination Water Works opens in Minneapolis

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After half a decade of planning and construction, the exterior elements of the new Water Works project in the Mill Ruins Park in downtown Minneapolis are now open to visitors.

The project, which was the subject of preliminary discussions over five years ago, is a reconsideration of the 3-acre waterfront in Mill Ruins Park, overlooking St. Anthony Falls and the Stone Arch Bridge.

The purpose of the design was to recognize the space “both as a spiritual place that shaped cultural and economic ties for Indigenous peoples and immigrants, and as the cradle of the Minneapolis Flour Mill history” , the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) and The Minneapolis Parks Foundation said in a press release.

Check out the photo gallery from Thursday’s opening, with more information below:

The outdoor park area has many features (and a few corporate sponsorships expected), including:

  • A mezzanine lawn, offering a space to relax or play which overlooks the edge of the river
  • Native plants, with panels coming later this year that will contain information in both Dakhóta and English
  • Remains of stone walls dating from the Occidental and Columbia Mills, uncovered during construction
  • A nature play lab for young children, near the 3rd Avenue Bridge
  • The General Mills Plaza, with an 1800 square foot lower patio that features three gas fireplaces, a large poplar tree preserved during construction, and Indigenous art
  • The Bank of America City Steps, which is a “series of terraced green spaces with headquarters”
  • An upper event area known as Columbia Terrace, complete with a lawn, lounge area for upcoming restaurant Owámni (by Chef Sioux), public walkway, and landscaping
  • A “woonerf“- a Dutch term meaning, essentially,” living street “- where vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists will coexist, intended to link Water Works to downtown Second Street



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