Parks update // Parade Park music festival?

First Avenue eyeing Parade Park for music festival

First Avenue nightclub is planning a large music festival on the Parade Park grounds next summer.

The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board gave First Avenue preliminary approval at its Oct. 5 meeting, but the nightclub and the Park Board still need to work out a contract.

First Avenue submitted to the Park Board a framework for what the festival would look like. Organizers say they would plan to get one major touring act and two major local acts to perform, as well as numerous smaller local artists who would get the opportunity to play in front of big crowds.

The festival would likely last two days with acts playing from the afternoon until 9:30 p.m., First Avenue General Manager Nathan Kranz told the Park Board.  First Avenue would also bring in local restaurants to be food and beer vendors.

“We look forward to showing off Parade Park as a true gem in the best location in Minneapolis,” organizers wrote in their proposal.

The Lowry Hill Neighborhood Association has already penned a letter of support for the concert.

Park Board Commissioner Anita Tabb, who represents the area around Parade Park, said the festival is an exciting proposal, but she expects that once more neighbors find out about it, they’ll want to give more input to make sure the concert operates smoothly.

Park Board staff plans to have a contract drafted in time for the board to vote on it at its Nov. 16 meeting.

Assistant Superintendent Don Siggelkow said this would be the first time a music festival was hosted on Park Board property.

“We think it will be a great event that will produce significant income for the Park Board,” he said.

First Avenue identified seven potential weekends for the concert, with possibilities in June, July, August and September.


Architect unveils design draft of RiverFirst project

Boston-based Kennedy & Violich Architecture unveiled a draft of a design proposal for the Upper Riverfront that includes extensive bike trails along the river, a developed Scherer Brothers park, a wetlands park on the west side of the river and floating “biohavens” for migrating birds.

If approved, the plan would be one of the largest Park Board undertakings in years. KVA estimated the first phase of the project, which would happen over five years, to cost $145–$175 million.

Local leaders say they’re hopeful that the project could be funded through a mix of federal, state, local and private sources.

The proposal calls for bike trails along both sides of the river, connected by a series of “knot bridges” that would connect to existing bridges from Plymouth Avenue to Camden.

A developed Scherer Brothers site just north of the Plymouth Avenue Bridge would include the re-creation of Hall’s Island that would allow for a beach and swimming barge that would double as an ice skating rink in the winter.

A design plan is scheduled for Park Board approval in December, but first the project is collecting community feedback on the draft proposal. To view the proposal and provide feedback, visit before Nov. 6.


National Park Service launches audio guide for river

The National Park Service in late September launched Ranger on Call, a downloadable audio tour of the Mississippi River from Minneapolis to Hastings.

Park goers can visit to access podcasts that tell stories about spots along the river. The NPS also has a toll-free telephone service that allows users to dial 1-877-727-1172 to access the stories via cell phone.

Ranger on Call is narrated by former WCCO anchor Don Shelby. The NPS and the Mississippi River Fund created the service.