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Health Impact Assessment underway Above the Falls

HIP logo

The City of Minneapolis recently received a grant from the Health Impact Project to complete a Health Impact Assessment (HIA) of the Above the Falls (ATF) area. A Health Impact Assessment is a process that identifies the health effects of a proposed project or policy before it is built or implemented.

The ATF-HIA is being conducted by the City’s Department of Health and Family Support, in partnership with CPED, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, the Minneapolis Riverfront Partnership and the Above the Falls Citizen Advisory Committee. It is concurrent with the City’s ATF Policy Review and Implementation process and the Park Board’s ATF Master Plan Update, to which it will also make recommendations.

The Health Impact Project is a collaboration of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Pew Charitable Trusts. Additional funding for the ATF-HIA is provided by the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Foundation.

Links

> Above the Falls Policy Review & Implementation Study

> ATF-HIA news release

> The HIA Process

Downloads (pdf)

HIA_TrainingInvite_FINAL
ATF Engagement Plan_02232012

 

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“What’s Up with Downtown Parks?” Find out Wednesday, May 30, 4:30 pm (free, privately-hosted public presentation)

What's up with downtown parks, May 30 presentation

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DESIGN & LINKS | RiverFirst designers and students create bridge cladding from drift and recycled wood

 

Blaine Brownell, an assistant professor at the University of Minnesota School of Architecture, recently co-taught a graduate-level intensive studio with Sheila Kennedy and Frano Violich of KVA here in Minneapolis.

Brownell writes, “Based on their suggestion, the students investigated experimental cladding systems for the wooden pedestrian bridges that TLS/KVA have proposed for the River First project. The students created five different cladding systems using drift wood and recycled industrial wood. Each cladding system is designed to provide habitat for a diversity of species along the river.”

Read the class syllabus to learn more.

Coming in this summer: a temporary installation of these cladding systems along the riverfront. Details to be announced soon!

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DESIGN & LINKS | What cities are doing about disconnecting urban freeways

The Atlantic Cities has an interesting article about The Tricky Second Wave of Urban Highway Removals, exploring the complex process by which cities are reconnecting neighborhoods cut off by highways and freeways.

North Minneapolis has long been cut off from the Mississippi River – here a National Park, no less – by Interstate 94. Some neighborhood old-timers recall sledding down the hill at Farview Park with the short stretch to the riverfront before them. But a whole generation of youngsters can’t even conceive of the idea.

While no one posits the removal of the interstate, as is being done elsewhere, RiverFirst envisions a two-block green overpass from Farview Park to the riverfront environs (ala downtown Duluth, Minn.), a length several blocks too short for Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board Commissioners, who asked their Planning Services staff to explore the possibility of extending the overpass to a mile in their approval of the RiverFirst Proposal and Implementation Guide last month.

To see what other cities around the country are exploring for their urban highways, check out The Death Row of Urban Highways (November 2011) article and slideshow, again from The Atlantic Cities.

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RiverFirst Vision, FINAL Approved, April 2012

View the RiverFirst Vision here.

RiverFirst Vision (Final 2012) from RiverFirst Initiative

To download the full PDF, click on the SlideShare link in the bottom left of the image

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NEWS RELEASE | Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board to redefine \”City of Lakes” with RiverFirst

NEWS RELEASE

Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board to redefine \”City of Lakes” with RiverFirst

Sweeping vision for Mississippi riverfront parks and public space will create largest expansion of nationally recognized park system in 100 years

Minneapolis, Minn., March 29, 2012 – The Mississippi River shapes a continent, shaped a nation and defines the cities along its course, including here in the \”City of Lakes,” where 5.5 miles of the Mississippi riverfront will soon host the largest expansion of park and public space since the award-winning park system in Minneapolis was created over 100 years ago. The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board approved, on March 14, RiverFirst: A Park Design Proposal and Implementation Plan for the Minneapolis Upper Riverfront. With the adoption of RiverFirst, the Minneapolis Park Board sets in motion a five-year initiative to create several miles of new Mississippi riverfront walking and biking trails, three new multifunctional parks and multiple local and regional connections to one of the four great rivers of the world and \”America\’s fourth coast.”

RiverFirst is the outcome of the 2011 Minneapolis Riverfront Development Initiative (MR|DI), a nine-month community-based vetting of the winning landscape and urban design concept submitted by the RiverFirst Design Team of Tom Leader Studio and Kennedy & Violich Architecture to the 2010-11 Minneapolis Riverfront Design Competition. More than 60 agency and community partners, along with a broad spectrum of community members, were directly involved in the MR|DI. The RiverFirst Design Team included New York-based economic development consultants HR&A Advisors, which created the RiverFirst implementation plan, and Groundwork City Building, which managed the project.

\”This is a tremendously exciting time for the Minneapolis Park Board, the city and residents of North and Northeast Minneapolis, in particular,” says John Erwin, President of the nine-member board of elected Commissioners governing the independent agency. \”We are known as the ‘City of Lakes,\’ but we also recognize that the Mississippi River is the birthplace of our city and has been neglected as a citywide natural amenity. Under the RiverFirst initiative, the Park Board will work with our partners to bring to life a vision that will transform the Upper Riverfront for residents of Minneapolis, the region and the state. We recognize this project will not only add recreational amenities, but will also be an economic catalyst for the entire area, and dramatically increase bird and fish habitat along an important natural flyway. Taken together, this project is a win for everyone.”

A \”multi-modal” vision serving generations to come

The 6,725-acre Minneapolis park system is renowned for more than 100 miles of parkways, trails and greenways that interlink regional park destinations. Together with the more than 150 neighborhood parks, these regional parks attract more than 20 million visits annually, especially to multifunctional natural, recreational and entertainment destinations, such as the Chain of Lakes.

The RiverFirst vision builds on this dynamic legacy with the creation of riverfront regional parks connected by a sophisticated network of trails that balances infrastructure with ecology. RiverFirst fills the gap in the Mississippi River parks and trails system and contributes significantly to improved water quality of the river, completes a critical connection to the larger Minneapolis \”Grand Rounds” and links into existing corridor initiatives taking place on both sides of the river.

Furthermore, RiverFirst creates a healthy community network and opportunities for economic development, by tying into the expansive regional parks and trails system managed by the Three Rivers Park District and the Metropolitan Council.

The RiverFirst Design Team was guided by the dynamics of the river and the RiverFirst design is infused with essential infrastructure such as stormwater treatment, flood storage, energy generation and food production – practices that derive multiple public benefits from a single investment and will spur development, retain and attract talented people, and enrich the city\’s culture – necessary ingredients for a 21st century river city.

\”There are 21st century challenges that are global in nature and local in impact. RiverFirst considers how the Minneapolis park system can protect the national ecological heritage of the Mississippi River, foster community health, support economic opportunity and prepare Minneapolis with resilient and sustainable eco-infrastructure for generations to come,” says Tom Leader, Principal of the RiverFirst Design Team and Founder of Tom Leader Studio. The Design Team considered multiple approaches – loops, moisture gradients, urban ecology, mobility, green networks and water – when shaping the RiverFirst vision. Adds Sheila Kennedy, Principal of the RiverFirst Design Team and Partner in Kennedy & Violich Architecture, \”RiverFirst integrates these approaches to cultivate a ‘blue and green\’ – river-first and sustainable – way of life in Minneapolis, nurtured by responsive, multi-modal public places around which residents thrive and businesses prosper.”

Given its ambition, full realization of the RiverFirst vision will likely take 20 years. Through the MR|DI, the RiverFirst Design Team developed a Strategic Implementation Plan for five phase one priority projects to meet the city\’s needs today and build momentum for overall completion of the RiverFirst vision over time. The five priority projects will be pursued simultaneously, with participation from multiple agencies and stakeholders: riverfront trail system and knot bridges; the Scherer Park District; Northside Wetlands and Downtown Gateway parks; new greenways on both sides and leading to the river; and floating islands.

Three additional projects are featured in the long-term RiverFirst vision: A mile-long land bridge covering Interstate 94, Northeast Riverfront Park, and Spirit Island. There is potential in the short- and long-term for additional projects to fit under the RiverFirst standard. Such projects would likely have to meet a number of criteria, including being within, or a critical connection to, the RiverFirst geographic area; creating public space with multiple purposes or uses, such as being an attraction, or providing transportation or economic development opportunities; and integrating with the area ecologically, culturally and with the built environment.

Five-year priority projects are underway

With the adoption of the RiverFirst vision, the Minneapolis Park Board begins a series of 2012 design and planning next steps for projects to be built beginning in 2013:

  • Seeking a regional park boundary adjustment to include the Scherer site in the Above the Falls Regional Park;
  • Using RiverFirst as a basis for coordinating with the City of Minneapolis to update the Above the Falls Master Plan;
  • Seeking a scope of work and fee proposal from the RiverFirst Design Team for the next stage of design; and,
  • Working with the Minneapolis Parks Foundation to establish a collaboration agreement with RiverFirst implementation partners, which would include the Parks Foundation, the City of Minneapolis and multiple agency and community contributors.

Over five years, the RiverFirst framework calls for completion of five priority projects at an estimated cost of $174M from a mix of public and private funding for both capital projects and operating costs. Some of the potential sources are outlined in the Implementation Guide, found in the RiverFirst proposal and executive summary.

The road to RiverFirst

In April 2011, the Minneapolis Park Board established the Minneapolis Riverfront Development Initiative as a special project to carry through the promise of connecting people from near and far with new multifunctional Upper Riverfront parks along \”America\’s fourth coast.” The MR|DI was charged with transforming RiverFirst from a visionary concept to a workable plan for short- and long-term parks-based development.

Beginning in June 2011, the MR|DI carried out a summer-long community engagement process that included: a community input survey taken by more than 600 people; promotion and participation in more than 30 community events throughout Minneapolis; three additional public meetings held in association with the City of Minneapolis and the Minneapolis Riverfront Partnership; more than 40 presentations and meetings with neighborhood associations, community-based non-profit organizations, agencies and other stakeholder groups; and the debut of \”River Is,” a figurative gathering of people\’s thoughts about the Mississippi today and for the future.

 About the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board

With 182 park properties totaling nearly 6,732 acres of land and water, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board provides places and recreation opportunities for all people to gather, celebrate, contemplate, and engage in activities that promote health, well-being, community, and the environment. Each year, approximately 18 million visits are made to the nationally acclaimed Minneapolis park system. Its urban forests, natural areas and waters endure and captivate. Its Grand Rounds National Scenic Byway, neighborhood parks, recreation centers and diversified programming have made the Minneapolis park system an important component of what makes Minneapolis a great place to live, play and work.  To learn more about the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, visit www.minneapolisparks.org.

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RELEASE-Minneapolis Parks Adopts RiverFirst Mississippi Riverfront vision, 29 Mar 2012 (pdf)

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Mpls StarTribune endorses RiverFirst: Editorial March 19, 2012

Stone Arch Bridge ®Brian Peterson, StarTribune

® Brian Peterson, StarTribune

 

Today, the Minneapolis StarTribune published an editorial in support for the RiverFirst vision and initiative. Thank you!

Read the editorial here or download a pdf.

 

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KARE 11 News, Wednesday, March 14

Read more from KARE photojournalist Jeffrey DeMars, here.

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It’s Official: Mpls Park Board Adopts RiverFirst

Last night, March 14, 2012, the nine-member Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board officially adopted the RiverFirst vision, when it approved Resolution 2012-133 (pdf).

The unanimous vote sets in motion design and planning for Upper Riverfront projects slated to break ground in 2013, including the Scherer Park District, loop trails and knot bridges, and greenway corridors leading to both east and west banks.

Other important activities authorized under the RiverFirst resolution include officially unifying the vision, initiative, and projects under the “RiverFirst” moniker, and establishing a collaboration agreement between the Minneapolis Park Board and RiverFirst partners, notably the City of Minneapolis and the Minneapolis Parks Foundation.

Learn more about what Minneapolis Park Board Planning staff are, well, planning by visiting our FAQ page.

 

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News release: MPRB staff to recommend adopting riverfirst, 15 Feb 2012

News Release

Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board to recommend adopting RiverFIRST plan                  

MPRB Planning Services will present \”next steps” recommendations to Park Board Planning Committee, Wednesday, February 15; Board to vote March 14

Minneapolis, Minn., February 10, 2012 – The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board may soon begin transforming the city\’s industry-heavy Upper Riverfront from inhospitable to inviting, thanks to destination parks and trails that reconnect residents and visitors with one of the three great rivers of the world and \”America\’s fourth coast.” The prospect is envisaged in RiverFIRST: A Park Design Proposal and Implementation Framework for the Minneapolis Upper Riverfront, a plan for 5.5 miles of riverfront with the potential to create the largest expanse of new public and green space since the Minneapolis Parks system was first created over 100 years ago.

On February 15, at the Board\’s 5:00 PM meeting, Park Board Planning Services staff will recommend to the Board\’s Planning Committee that the RiverFIRST plan be formally adopted. The recommendation is being made as part of a proposed resolution that will move RiverFIRST into a 2012 planning and design phase for projects to be built beginning in 2013. Following the Planning Committee\’s review and feedback on the RiverFIRST resolution, Park Board Commissioners will vote on adoption at the 5:00 PM Board meeting on Wednesday, March 14.

The RiverFIRST plan is the outcome of the Minneapolis Riverfront Development Initiative (MR|DI). The MR|DI design team of Tom Leader Studio and Kennedy & Violich Architecture (TLS/KVA) and finance consultants HR&A Advisors originally presented the draft RiverFIRST Proposal to Park Board Commissioners on September 21, 2011. The Board authorized a 45-day public comment period on the plan, after which Minneapolis Park Board Planning Services staff edited the draft, amended the implementation guide and incorporated public comments, in preparation for presenting its recommendations to The Board.

Planning Services\’ two additional recommendations are formally adopting \”RiverFIRST” as the project name and identity and authorizing a series of \”next steps,” including seeking a regional park boundary adjustment for the Scherer site; using RiverFIRST as a basis for coordinating with the City of Minneapolis to update the Above the Falls Master Plan; seeking a scope of work and fee proposal from TLS/KVA for the next stage of design; and working with the Minneapolis Parks Foundation to establish a collaboration agreement with RiverFIRST implementation partners.

\”With the adoption of these recommendations, the Minneapolis Park Board will take a significant first step toward making the compelling RiverFIRST vision a reality for Minneapolis residents and visitors,” says Bruce Chamberlain, Assistant Superintendent for Planning. \”Throughout the city\’s history, a lack of interconnected natural public and green space has impeded residents\’ enjoyment of our magnificent river amenity. With the realization of RiverFIRST, the Minneapolis Park Board and our partners can literally and figuratively change the Upper Riverfront landscape in as little as three to five years.”

The RiverFIRST resolution and supporting documents are available online at http://MinneapolisParks.org and http://MinneapolisRiverfrontDevelopmentInitiative.com.

The road to RiverFIRST

RiverFIRST began as a visionary entry in the renowned Minneapolis Riverfront Design Competition, an international landscape design and urban planning competition presented by the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board and the Minneapolis Parks Foundation in 2010-11. Design team TLS/KVA won the MR|DC on the strength of their RiverFIRST concept, which addressed 21st century challenges including ecological heritage (water), economic opportunity (\”green economy”), community health and mobility.

In April 2011, the Minneapolis Park Board established the Minneapolis Riverfront Development Initiative (MR|DI) as a special project to carry through the promise of connecting people from near and far with new multifunctional Upper Riverfront parks along \”America\’s fourth coast.” The MR|DI was charged with transforming RiverFIRST from a visionary concept to a workable plan for short- and long-term parks-based development.

Beginning in June 2011, MR|DI carried out a summer-long community engagement process that included: a community input survey taken by more than 600 people; Promotion and participation in more than 30 community events throughout Minneapolis; three additional public meetings held in association with the City of Minneapolis and the Minneapolis Riverfront Partnership; more than 40 presentations and meetings with neighborhood associations, community-based non-profit organizations, agencies and other stakeholder groups; and the debut of \”River Is,” a figurative gathering of people\’s thoughts about the Mississippi today and for the future.

For more information, please visit http://MinneapolisRiverfrontDevelopmentInitiative.com and http://MinneapolisRiverfrontDevelopmentInitiative.com.

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Release-MPRB staff recommends adopting riverfirst (pdf)

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