St. Paul reveals exciting plans for river balcony park

Saint Paul River Balcony rendering from the Great River Passage Plan

A rendering of the proposed Saint Paul River Balcony from the Great River Passage Plan.

On September 24, St. Paul Mayor Coleman presented the city's latest vision to improve the connections between the Mississippi River and downtown Saint Paul while improving the parkland and connections along the river between the Science Museum and the Union Depot. The current vision and model show exciting new features including additional linear and vertical trails, community gathering spaces, market spaces, a restaurant, a dock that welcomes people to the city though Union Depot and more.  

This vision of reconnecting downtown Saint Paul to the Mississippi River has grown out of the 2011 Saint Paul Great River Passage Plan. That plan calls for:

  • overlooks, and public stairs and elevators at buildings and bridges along the bluff 
  • a series of outdoor rooms with panoramic views
  • a great year-round destination for shopping, lunch or to relax with friends after a concert of sporting event
  • daily lunchtime visitors and early evening entertainment programming
  • a great streetscape that supports stronger pedestrian connections into Downtown, and a place in the Grand Round system.

While enthusiasm for the river balcony project is high, both the Mayor and city staff have been frank about the fact that this project is not expected to be completed in five or even 10 years. They have stressed that it is something that will evolve over the many coming years. Despite the long timeline, FMR finds it heartening that the city continues to plan for and work toward reconnecting with the Mighty Mississippi River--a feature that was long ignored and used as a dump.  

There will be many opportunities to weigh-in and help make this project great. FMR will continue following this project and promoting these opportunities. Right now, the city is collecting feedback on the question, “How do you envision interacting with the River Balcony[?]” Please provide your thoughts by October 30, 2015. You can also get the latest river balcony news right away by signing-up for project updates.