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An “iconic” waterfront walkway has been proposed for the shores of the Mississippi River in Downtown Minneapolis.

Called “Wishbone”, the project would include an elevated ¾ mile, 4,080-foot-long walkway that would extend over the Mississippi River at St. Anthony Falls. Some say that the walkway has the potential to become Minneapolis’ version of New York City’s famous High Line, an iconic elevated park that runs on what previously was a 1.45-mile-long elevated rail line.

Designed by RSP Architects, Wishbone gets its name from its unique shape. Part of the reason behind that unique shape is that the project would take advantage of obsolete structures left behind since the closing of the lock and dam.

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80 percent of the walkway would be supported by existing elements. At the moment plans for the project include utilizing the existing mooring cells that previously guided boats into the lock and dam as structural supports for the walkway. The lock itself would be used to support a grand staircase and elevator leading to a lower level walkway.

Wishbone would provide a very different experience than walking across the Stone Arch Bridge.

One of the biggest differences would be how close the walkway would be to the water itself. The walkway would also be heavily landscaped and feature unique lighting along with multiple programmable spaces where activities/events could be held such as yoga classes and weddings. The project is also anticipated to be free to the public and ideally open year-round.

Wishbone would be accessible from Downtown Minneapolis at the existing lock and dam and from Northeast Minneapolis at St. Anthony Main. An additional access point is being evaluated on the Downtown side of the river that would be located below the former lock.

Currently Wishbone is moving into the feasibility stage where public input will be sought. Soon after studies will occur that will help determine “next step” questions such as if the project is actually feasible to be built in its planned form along with what historic and environmental impacts the project may have.

RSP Architects is working closely with Minnesota’s Native American tribes in order to help guide the design/development phase of the project. In addition, RSP has worked on initial concepts with Damon Farber Landscape Architects, Meyer Borgman Johnson and Mortenson.

Wishbone is anticipated to cost between $50 and $100 million. Funding for the project still needs to be secured which likely will end up being a mix of public/private funding. A timeframe for when the project would be constructed has yet to be established.

We’ll be sure to post more about this exciting project as it moves forward over the next few months.

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