A Sizeable Minnehaha Regional Park Improvement Project is Underway, Construction is to be started in the Summer of 2024.

A project recently developed by the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board involving an infrastructure improvement plan for Minnehaha Park with a budget of $3 million is in the works. This project will involve multiple improvement projects under one umbrella that all aim to improve the functionality, safety, accessibility, and functionality of the park. 

The timeline for this umbrella project depends on the project component itself, as each piece will have its unique timeline, but the overall timeline will be:

  • Fall 2023: Pre-design
  • Fall 2023 / Summer 2024: Community Engagement and Feedback
  • Winter 2024 / Fall 2024: Design Development and Finalization
  • Spring 2024 / Fall 2024: Permitting and getting Approvals
  • Summer 2024 / Summer 2026: Construction Will Begin and End

The “South Slope” of Minnehaha Falls is considerably inaccessible to the public because of the deteriorating condition of stairs and walls, along with the eroding slopes. This has led to the instability of certain pathways and access points that the public has used in the past. However, even though access is blocked and restricted in the interest of public safety, people can and have been entering these closed-off areas and committing vandalism and trampling. This project aims to address these concerns and will aim to repair these dangerous or inaccessible access points so the public can fully enjoy the park in a safe manner. 

Pictures shows slopes crumbling due to decay.

This project will also aim to resurface the boardwalk along the Lower Glen Trail, and the reconstruction of the Lower Glen boardwalk will involve renovation of the decking along the existing path with greater consideration given to materials used, and will include some bank stabilization along the Creek. Along with the materials used, greater attention to native vegetation will be implemented in this area and other areas across the park to increase the integrity of the park’s ecosystem. The Nokomis East Neighborhood Association conducted an informal survey within their neighborhood group of things they would like to see be implemented in this project, and what was rising to the top of people’s interests was establishing native plants and improvements to the picnic areas. It can be said the status of the nature and outdoor recreational areas of the park holds much importance to the surrounding community, which will be taken into consideration as this project is being put into action.

Pictures of the Boardwalk display disrepair

Improvements to the dog park area entrance & fencing are also set to be underway, as the Minnehaha Regional Park wants to be seen as a “better neighbor” to the owners of the land within the dog park. There are three separate owners of this land, and the off-leash area of the dog park lacks natural bordering and fencing, so the public is leaking out of the designated areas and overrunning the areas that are not meant to be used for this purpose. This project will aim to directly tackle this issue by making these land boundaries more formal, therefore causing less of a disturbance to the owners of this land.

The park has a rich history and importance to the public, as well as many stakeholders such as the Department of Natural Resources, National Park Service, Minnehaha Creek Watershed District, City of Minneapolis, Native Tribal Councils (and holds importance to the Native community through the mouth of the falls, creek, etc.). The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board largely seeks community engagement and feedback on the design, construction, and maintenance of the area. It is in great interest of the MPRB that community feedback is not only obtained and heard, but used within the design and construction process. There will be some parts of the project that will be implemented no matter what, such as the decaying slope repair, but the public will be informed that the improvements are happening and they’re being done out of necessity.

The MPRB will share mock-up designs, surveys, informational pieces and other sort of feedback-seeking on their website, or if you have any other concerns or questions, you can reach out to the Project Manager Carol HejlStone through her listed email: or her listed phone number: 612- 230-6454. The Longfellow Community Council’s Environment & River Gorge Committee is meeting via Zoom on January 3rd, 2024, from 7:00 to 8:00 PM in which they will be discussing the project details. Find information for that meeting here.

For further consideration, the public may be interested in/supportive of or non supportive of a new parking lot in between Nawadaha Boulevard and the Godfrey traffic circle. This would be done because the parking lot on Godfrey Parkway is overcapacity, and the traffic from the lot spills into the neighborhood north of the park. Residents were complaining about this issue, so a concept design of how a newer lot may look is the goal, as well as getting a bigger scope for how the community would feel about a new parking lot in that area. There are no formal plans and there is no budget for this project currently, and the concept is merely in the works, so the MPRB is still seeking feedback from the community on if this is a good idea or if another idea should be considered.