Water Works Park is a Step Forward for Mpls Central Riverfront
The Minneapolis Star-Tribune editorialized this morning in support of Water Works Park, and for the most part got it right. This iteration of a design for the west end of the Stone Arch Bridge and the section of West River Parkway for a block or so on either side is pretty good. It gets the most important element of any design for this place–protecting the historic water management system that pulled Mississippi River water out of the channel to power the mills–right through excavating and highlighting those structures. It moves the proposed new building, which rightly provides amenities such as restrooms and food service, away from the river and immediate falls area. It solves, at least for a while, the traffic confusion that has bicyclists, walkers, joggers, car drivers, and wedding photographers all sharing the same space, with sometimes fractious results.
We still need to see how a plethora of details are going to get solved, such as what kind of vegetative cover will go where. I’m not sure the closing of the adjacent Upper St. Anthony Lock has been adequately accounted for (the material is long on marketing sizzle, and not as strong in contextual process as a wonk like me would like). But this is arguably one of the most historically significant acres in Minnesota, so taking the time to think it through extremely carefully is certainly warranted.