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Mpls. riverfront designers visit city this week

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The four teams of architects competing to redesign the north Minneapolis riverfront are in town this week. 

The groups -- from New York, Beijing, Boston, and Berkeley -- are finalists in the Riverfront Design Competition.

They're visiting Minneapolis to get an up-close look at the five-and-a-half mile stretch of riverfront that city leaders hope to turn into a world-class outdoor space. 

The four teams will spend three days in Minneapolis. 

"They're going to be walking and driving up and down the river, so they can get a real sense of the site, adjacent communities, how things are connected and disconnected," said project manager Mary deLaittre. 

She adds that it's good the designers will experience Minnesota's wintry weather. 

"The designers need to know that we are really a four-season climate. And five months out of the year, we have weather like we've got right now," said deLaittre. "We need to be able to design along the river, and create connections to the river that take into consideration that we have winter."

There'll be a public comment session on the plans Dec. 7, before a winner is picked in February.  Each team is getting $30,000 from the parks department to develop their plan.

Implementation of the final concept will take at least 20 years.