Park Board approves purchase of upper riverfront land

The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board unanimously voted Wednesday to approve a $2.5 million purchase agreement for more upper riverfront property.

Park Board commissioners welcomed the purchase of approximately 3.5 acres just southwest of the Lowry Avenue Bridge. Closing is expected between July and September. 

“It’s a great, great day. [It’s] an important piece that we’re acquiring,” said commissioner Jon Olson, whose district includes Northwest Minneapolis. “It’s been difficult to acquire property on our side of the river.”

The agreement includes three parcels at 30 31st Ave. N., 50 31st Ave. N. and 3101 Pacific St. Two buildings on the property are fully leased, with some space leased until 2016. The Park Board plans to run out the leases and rent out any vacant space.

Park Board staff expect funds to come from the board, Metropolitan Council and Mississippi Watershed Management Organization.

Ultimately, the land will become parkland as part of the board’s long-term Above the Falls Master Plan and will house pedestrian and bicycle trails as part of the Riverfront Trail System, a priority project under its RiverFirst initiative. 

“This is the first big purchase on the north side toward the Above the Falls Plan, and I think it’s really an important first step,” commissioner Anita Tabb said. “I think we’re moving in a really great direction to be able to acquire land on both sides of the river.”