Partners celebrate official start of construction at Mississippi Gateway Regional Park

July 24, 2023

people stand with shovels in front of a large construction digger with trees in the background

Highlighting how the redeveloped Mississippi Gateway Regional Park will help everyone connect with nature and the Mississippi River, representatives from partner agencies and the public celebrated the official start of construction on the Mississippi Gateway Redevelopment Project with a groundbreaking ceremony on June 14.

In addition to commemorating the start of construction, the event celebrated the partnerships that helped the project get to this point. Central to the project is the cooperative agreement between Three Rivers Park District and Brooklyn Park to jointly operate land owned by the two agencies that is being combined into the new Mississippi Gateway Regional Park.

Three Rivers Board Chair John Gibbs highlighted some of the new features being built, including a new Mississippi Gateway Center, a Treetop Trail elevated walkway, nature play areas, learning areas, a new archery range, picnic facilities and an expanded dog off-leash area. “I know the new Mississippi Gateway Regional Park will be a jewel of both the Three Rivers and Brooklyn Park systems and will be a favorite place for everyone to connect with the mighty Mississippi and enjoy the outdoors,” Gibbs said.

Senator John Hoffman, who authored bills in the Senate to provide capital improvement funding for the project, described the joy community members have expressed to him that construction is underway. And Hennepin County Commissioner Jeffrey Lunde, who championed the project during his tenure as Brooklyn Park Mayor, spoke about how opportunities for park visitors to experience nature and view wildlife will help to develop future environmental stewards.

Brooklyn Park Mayor Hollies Winston praised the partnership, community involvement in the planning of it and level of investment by multiple agencies in the project. “The start of construction signals the culmination of more than seven years of community engagement and collaborative design,” said Winston. “The City of Brooklyn Park and Three Rivers Park District’s enduring partnership has consistently yielded success, and this remarkable $40 million investment will enrich our community, helping people connect with one of America’s greatest natural resources.”

Three Rivers Board Vice Chair Jennifer DeJournett, whose district includes Mississippi Gateway, highlighted the multi-year planning effort that included engagement with more than 1,200 community members. That level of engagement was unprecedented for a Three Rivers project and gave the public the opportunity to determine what features the redeveloped park would include. DeJournett also described the Park District’s partnership with Champlin-Brooklyn Park Academy for Math and Environmental Science, which gave an entire grade level of students the opportunity to shape the nature play features at the park.

“The school and Mississippi Gateway have had a successful outdoor education partnership for many years, and when we started thinking about how to design the new nature play features here at the park, we decided we’d better enlist the help of the experts: the kids who will use it,” DeJournett said.

Following their remarks, Gibbs and DeJournett invited students and their families who were present to grab shovels and join them for a groundbreaking photo.

The park will be open throughout construction. Visitors can hike the trails, fish from the platform at the dam or from shore, explore the riverbank and visit the dog off-leash area. The Mississippi Gateway Visitor Center will remain open during construction for people to have access to restrooms, visit the live animal displays and chat with park staff. The walkway across the dam also will remain open. A celebration of project completion is anticipated in 2026. Learn more about the project.