Riverfront Access:

Parks and public land control

Portion of riverfront adjacent to parks

The Upper River is the only part of the Minneapolis riverfront that is not generally lined by public parks. All the other parts of the Minneapolis riverfront are fundamentally public. The long-term ideal is for the entire riverfront to be lined by public parks.

Compared to the Upper River, the Lower Gorge has nearly twice the percentage of riverfront parkland (see chart above). The updated Above the Falls Master Plan calls for the Upper River to follow in the footsteps of the Central Riverfront. Over the course of the last generation, the Central Riverfront has evolved form its industrial past into a welcoming expanse of riverfront park.

Over the last year, no new parks were completed on the Upper River (see figures at right).  But that obscures several strategic acquisitions the Park Board has made in recent years that have not been turned into parks. Those strategic aquisitions are shown in the light green on the map below.


Data in chart above updated November 2015. Data source and methodology: Analysis of riverfront parkland and public green spaces, in parcels or easements owned or controlled by Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board, Three Rivers Park District, or Mississippi Watershed Management Organization.  Land which met these qualifications was plotted against the Mississippi River edge derived from the Minnesota DNR 2002 dataset.  Portions which were in parkland were apportioned accordingly.

Portion of Upper River adjacent to parks


over last year


over ten years

Map of public land control in the river corridor

future park, MPRB owned park public ownership, non-park use
transportation (public or privately owned) utility (publicly or privately owned)
Map data updated November 2015. Data source and methodology: Base data source is Hennepin County Parcel Dataset (January 2015). Specifically for parcels adjacent to the riverfront, this county parcel ownership information has been supplemented with information from the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board, which in some cases provides more current data on land purchases than the County information is able to provide. Any land purchase which the Park Board has fully approved is reflected on the map, regardless of closing date. You may link to this data as an ArcGIS service at this link.

Sheridan Memorial Park

In 1995, a group of World War II veterans from Northeast Minneapolis, led by Ed Karbo Sr., began looking for a site along the Mississippi River to commemorate war veterans. In 2005, they joined forces with the Sheridan Neighborhood Organization (SNO) to pursue a memorial in this key Above the Falls location.

The Sheridan Veterans Memorial, honoring all Minnesota veterans, is centered around a large spherical sculpture of protective shields, created by local artist Robert Smart. The perimeter walk has quotes about peace engraved in granite. The memorial is surrounded by peace gardens and vertical markers describing the ten conflicts in which Minnesotans have served.

MWMO backyard public space

In 2014 the Mississippi Watershed Management Organization (MWMO) completed its riverfront demonstration park next to the headquarters just northeast of the Lowry Avenue Bridge.

The design objectives address three areas: restoring the historic stream and ravine, using the facility and site as a community resource and living laboratory, and engaging the employees in the active maintenance of the grounds.


Sheridan Memorial Park Image: Bob Spaulding for Minneapolis Riverfront Partnership. MWMO image: courtesy Brian Jastram, Mississippi Watershed Management Organization. Page background page image: Aerial over Riverside Park, I-94 and Franklin Avenue Bridges. Image from the Metropolitan Design Center Image Bank. Copyright (c) Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved. Used with permission.