The Marcy-Holmes Neighborhood Association created the Power of the Falls – East Bank Development Task Force to increase long-term community engagement and build community relationships with diverse communities for ongoing sharing and reciprocity, focusing on the East Bank area of Marcy-Holmes. Initially, this task force will help shape East Bank public and private investment in the Water Power Character Area of the St. Anthony Falls Historic District and the Mississippi River Corridor Critical Area, part of our National Park, the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area.
Understanding the Power of the Falls – East Bank area:
The Riverfront area of Marcy-Holmes, described in the Marcy-Holmes Plan (pp. 48-52), “has local and national historic significance. The area’s seeps and caves were well known to American Indians, who created portages and honored this area as sacred. Sawmills, flour mills and associated industrial development have largely transitioned to housing, entertainment, recreation and offices; a few industries continue to thrive. The current mix of uses, structures and attractions make the area one of the most visited and loved in the region.” (Marcy-Holmes Plan, p. 48)
Several key plans approved by the city and other public agencies shape private and public development in this signature area.
St. Anthony Falls Historic District Map – Sixth Avenue SE and University Avenue SE are the east and north boundaries within Marcy-Holmes. Central Ave SE is the Marcy-Holmes west boundary.
St. Anthony Falls Historic District Guidelines, 2012 – developed to shape public and private investment to contribute to national and state historic district
Interpretive Vision for the East Bank of St. Anthony Falls, St. Anthony Falls Heritage Board, 2013 – to guide public and private interpretation investments and programs in the area
Power of the Falls – St. Anthony Falls Historic District Interpretive Plan 2009
Mississippi River Corridor Critical Area Rules, 2017 – to protect the state critical area and Mississippi National River and Recreation Area of the National Park Service
City of Minneapolis, Mississippi River Corridor Critical Area Plan – 2006
City of Minneapolis, Mississippi River Corridor Critical Area Plan – 2040 Comprehensive Plan – city approved Dec. 2018; Metropolitan Council review pending
Central Riverfront Regional Park Master Plan, Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board – 2014
Minneapolis Plan for Sustainable Growth – 2009 Comprehensive Plan - current
2040 Minneapolis Comprehensive Plan – city approved Dec. 2018; Metropolitan Council review pending
Marcy-Holmes Master Plan – 2014
Minneapolis Climate Action Plan - 2013
Additional Resources and Perspectives:
BDote Memory Map, including St. Anthony Falls – Owamni
Mississippi National River and Recreation Area National Park Service Comprehensive Management Plan
Mississippi Watershed Management Organization Watershed Management Plan 2011
Comments on Development of the General Mills Site:
January 22, 2019:
The Marcy-Holmes Neighborhood Association (MHNA) supports residential and mixed-use development adjacent to the National Historic Landmark Pillsbury A Mill in the St. Anthony Falls Historic District (SAFHD), on the two blocks now occupied by the General Mills Riverside Technical Research center and its associated parking lot. As the oldest neighborhood in Minneapolis, Marcy-Holmes and its residents welcome growth that gives back – enhancing this unique, historic area. Before General Mills sold this property in 2016, MHNA shared with General Mills and city officials our recommendations for this site to implement the City-adopted Marcy-Holmes Master Plan. While MHNA is on record supporting more dense residential growth, the historic character of the area, as detailed the SAFHD Guidelines, and the needs of the neighborhood, as expressed in the Marcy-Holmes Master Plan, must be considered when evaluating this development.
Historic District: The site is within the St. Anthony Falls Historic District (SAFHD) and adjacent to the Pillsbury A Mill complex, which earned designation as a National Historic Landmark, the highest standard of national significance. Specifically, the site is in the Water Power Character Area, and the University Transition sub-character area, next to the East Bank Milling sub-character area. For the East Side Milling District, adjacent to this site, the guidelines state that “the maximum building height should not exceed the Red Tile Elevator,” and “building types of mid-rise and low-rise buildings are most appropriate.” For this project’s University Transition Area, the guidelines cite a maximum of eight stories, with mid, low, and very low-rise buildings to provide a transition to the surrounding neighborhood (10.8).
Natural Areas and Parks: The site is within the Mississippi River Corridor Critical Area and the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area; University Avenue SE is the boundary shared by MRCCA, the Saint Anthony Falls Historic District, and the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area. The site is five blocks from an active Bald Eagle nest, and one block from many natural resources of national, state and local significance. The Mississippi flyway is a vital corridor for migrating birds, and it is well documented that large structures in the flyway contribute to significant bird mortality. The site is one block from Father Hennepin Bluffs Park, a unit of Central Mississippi Regional Park, owned and managed by the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB). Caves and natural springs are located one block from this site, beneath Main Street and in Father Hennepin Bluffs Park. This project is one block from two MPRB parks: Holmes Park and Chute Square. This project is one block from the Sixth Avenue Greenway, a native habitat boulevard connecting the Mississippi River and the neighborhood.
Visual Impact and People Walking and Cycling: This project is one block from the state’s Mississippi River Trail and the Stone Arch Bike Boulevard, and is within the viewshed of the National Scenic Byway Great River Road, on West River Road. It is immediately adjacent to the National Historic Landmark Pillsbury A Mill complex and within specifically listed “key” viewsheds from public sites: Mill City Museum, Mill Ruins Park, the Great River Road, and the Stone Arch Bridge. The East and West Bank Milling areas together create the historic Water Power Character Area. Views from Hennepin Bridge and Nicollet Island downstream show the remarkable, parallel mill sites with their defining signs: the Gold Medal Flour sign on the west, and the Pillsbury sign on the east.
Comments and Review:
MHNA Recommendations 2016: Marcy-Holmes Neighborhood Association convened a task force in 2015 to recommend development guidelines for the General Mills Riverside Technical Center after the site was put on the market and before it was sold. The MHNA approved these recommendations.
Review of St. Anthony Falls Historic District Guidelines as applied to the General Mills Site
National Park Service, Letters Supporting Red Tile Elevator Height Standard at 311 2nd Street SE
MHNA Letter to City about Environmental Assessment Worksheet, November 2018
MHNA Letter to Heritage Preservation Commission, January 22, 2019
Mississippi River Parkway Commissioner Letter to HPC, January 22, 2019
Senator Torres Ray Letter to Minneapolis City Council, December 2018
Updates & News
Opinion: Act to Protect "Power of the Falls" in Mill City Times