Mississippi Gateway Regional Park Redevelopment

Starting in 2017, community members in Brooklyn Park helped Three Rivers Park District and the City of Brooklyn Park develop a new master plan for Mississippi Gateway Regional Park, formerly Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park. Mississippi Gateway Regional Park and the Environmental Nature Area in Brooklyn Park are being combined into a new park that will be a year-round connection for all people to celebrate the Mississippi River and the outdoors.

The master plan process identified new park features that will make the park a more inviting, welcoming and vibrant place for everyone to discover nature and the river. New paved trails and parking lots have already been completed and additional park features currently are being added. These features include a new Mississippi Gateway Center, the Treetop Trail elevated walkway, nature play areas, learning areas, and improvements to spots for fishing, picnicking, archery and more.

Construction updates

The central portion of the West Unit Environmental Nature Area is closed for construction through the summer. Construction is scheduled to be completed and the affected area of the park re-opened this fall. View a map of what's open and closed at the park this summer.

While work is taking place, the dog off-leash area has relocated to the north side of the West Unit of the park, near the water tower. Off-leash area users should enter the water tower driveway off West River Road (north of the West Unit park entrance), and park along the driveway.

The closure is needed to construct new park amenities in the core area of the park: the play area, dog off-leash area, archery facility, seasonal restroom and parking lot. The previous archery range will be closed while work is taking place; archery range users are invited to visit the archery range at Elm Creek Park Reserve this spring and summer.

Work on several new components of the Mississippi Gateway Redevelopment project began as the weather turned warmer in April. At the West Unit of the park, earthwork is now underway to prepare the site for new parking and archery areas. The masonry walls of the Large Reservable Shelter, which will house the kitchenette and custodial spaces, were started in April and are already nearly complete.

an exterior view of the Gateway Center building with blue sky in the background

Highlights at the East Unit include the excavation of footings for the seasonal restroom. Restroom footings will be started this month. Work on the Gateway Center also continues. Recent developments include installation of about half of the windows as well as the roof membrane over half of the building. Additionally, construction of interior walls and installation of mechanical ductwork have started in the lower level. View a video showing construction progress through early 2024.

The park is open throughout construction. Hike the trails, fish from the platform at the dam or from shore, explore the riverbank and visit the interim 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. The trails in the southern part of the West Unit also are open during the 2024 construction season. Park guests are reminded to follow all construction signs, especially now that the summer construction season is underway.

A short segment of the Rush Creek Regional Trail near Mississippi Gateway is detoured to the east side of West River Road through late 2024.

Restrooms and drinking fountains in the Visitor Center are available through the duration of construction; however, all other drinking fountains at the park will be inoperable until new city water service and metering are in place.

To receive emailed project updates, visit this link to sign up for Mississippi Gateway Project Updates and Alerts.

Schematic Design Tour

Take a virtual tour of the design of the new park features in this animation.

Overview Maps

A map of the proposed park features on the east side of Mississippi Gateway Regional Park.
An overview of the proposed park features on the east side of Mississippi Gateway Regional Park.


A map of the proposed park features on the west side of Mississippi Gateway Regional Park.
An overview of the proposed park features on the west side of Mississippi Gateway Regional Park.

Master Plan

Three Rivers Park District and Brooklyn Park collaborated to develop a master plan for what were then known as Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park and the Brooklyn Park Environmental Nature Area. The two parks naturally function as one larger natural resource-based park unit located at Coon Rapids Dam on the Mississippi River. To celebrate its location on one of our nation’s greatest natural treasures, the master plan called for renaming the park Mississippi Gateway Regional Park.

The vision statement for the plan is:

A gateway for everyone to connect with the Mississippi River and its dynamic environment.

Key goals of the plan include:

  • Be welcoming and engaging to everyone
  • Celebrate the river as the heart of the park
  • Introduce people to nature and outdoor recreation
  • Provide activity and purpose year-round

Key features of the plan include a new Mississippi Gateway Center, Treetop Trail elevated walkway, nature play areas, Mini-Mississippi play feature, field learning labs, South Pond Learning Lab, nature interpretation nodes, improved trails, fishing, picnicking, non-motorized boat launch, archery, off-leash dog area, natural areas and more!

Read the full plan:

  • Part 1: Executive Summary, Title - Table of Contents, Section 1: Partnership, Section 2: Introduction, Section 3: Context
  • Part 2: Section 4: Input, Section 5: Summary, Section 6: Design Guidance
  • Part 3: Section 7: Research, Section 8: Operations and Maintenance, Section 9: Implementation, Appendices

View the plan renderings:

Contact Us

Jason Zemke, Senior Manager of Architecture



Matt Swenson, Project Manager