Archaeologists will start digging later this month for a new Water Works park along the Mississippi River in downtown Minneapolis.
The park will run down three blocks of West River Parkway, from Portland Avenue to the 3rd Avenue Bridge. It will include trail extensions from the Stone Arch Bridge, a pavilion, and a hillside performance space.
Public and private funding sources will cover the park's estimated $29.8 million cost.
Crews will dig to locate and assess walls from the former Bassett, Columbia and Occidental milling sites, which will be incorporated into the design of the park.
Kate Lamers, a project manager with the Park Board, hopes Water Works will act as more of a destination for park-goers.
"For all the people who love Mill Ruins Park and who go across the Stone Arch Bridge, it's kind of a pass-through place, there's no place to picnic, there's no visitor support," Lamers said, "so this is going to be the answer to that."
Lamers has worked with residents from around the city, using their diverse insight and backgrounds to help insure that the new park will be a local gathering space where all communities can be represented.
"We want to talk about history here, but we don't want it to just be the park board telling other people's stories for them," she said. "We want to create the setting for people to create their own stories."
The first phase of the project is scheduled to open to the public in 2019. The Minneapolis Parks Foundation, in partnership with the Minneapolis Park Board, secured funds for the project.