Take me to the river: new signs may point the way

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August 18, 2003 // UPDATED 11:03 am - April 30, 2007
By: le most people who live or work Downtown could probably find their way to the Mississippi River, the St. Anthony Falls Heritage Board believes that for many others, the path to the river is not so clear.
le most people who live or work Downtown could probably find their way to the Mississippi River, the St. Anthony Falls Heritage Board believes that for many others, the path to the river is not so clear.

The group is currently planning a major project that would place signs both in and just outside the area they have designated as the Minneapolis Riverfront District.

The Riverfront District runs on either side of the river from approximately Plymouth Avenue in northwest Downtown to I-35W to the south and east. The boundaries on either side of the river are a bit wavy. The Downtown-side boundary runs along West River Parkway, 4th Avenue, 1st Street South, 3rd Avenue and Washington Avenue. Across the river, the boundary runs along Main Street Southeast and juts north to include the triangle of the Nicollet Island-East Bank neighborhood.

"The riverfront has really taken off. There are more and more people coming down here who really see the river as a point of destination," said Deborah Johnson, coordinator for the St. Anthony Falls Heritage Board. "There's an idea that 'if you build it, they will come.' My response to that is, 'Not if they can't find it.'"

Although the design team of Larsen Design + Interactive has presented three possible sign scenarios, one option has had clear support from St. Anthony Falls Heritage Board staff as well as other interested parties, such as the Industry Square Business Association.

The popular design incorporates elements of the Stone Arch Bridge, an arch theme in wrought iron.

"As we've shared this plan with greater numbers of people, [that] design grabs everyone's imagination. It's a very sophisticated and historically compatible design," Johnson said.

Currently, Johnson is taking the Riverfront District Signage Master Plan to interested neighborhood groups and business associations. The Master Plan will go to the St. Anthony Falls Heritage Board Nov. 13 for approval. The Master Plan will also need city, park, county and state approval.

No implementation schedule or cost has been set, and funding sources have not been identified.