The River First Initiative is critical step in the creation of a larger regional parks and trails network, as well as ecological and infrastructure systems for the city of Minneapolis. It fills a gap in the Mississippi River parks and trails system and contributes significantly to the improved water quality of the river, completes a critical connection in the larger City of Minneapolis Grand Rounds and links into the existing corridor initiatives taking place on both sides of the river. Furthermore, it creates a healthy community network and opportunities for economic development, by tying into the expansive regional parks and trails system.
The reconstruction of Hall’s Island was a priority in the RiverFirst Initiative — part of a long-term vision to transform the Minneapolis riverfront from a degraded industrial zone to a welcoming destination that combines public access with ecological benefits. The restored island is the first phase construction of a habitat channel and island on a former industrial site. In addition to the island, the vision for the future park features a gravel beach, boat rental and storage for paddlers, a park-supportive cafe pavilion, and terraced gathering spaces. Two pedestrian bridges are planned to connect Hall’s Island to the mainland.