Minnehaha Creek Greenway

For much of the first half of the 20th Century, Minnehaha Creek was ignored and treated like a ditch for polluted rainwater flowing off the landscape. Later, during the post-World War II building boom, urban expansion did not mix well with the meandering creek. Wetlands were drained and filled and the creek was moved out of the way. The result was a straightened waterway that’s polluted, prone to flooding and lacks sufficient public access for recreation.

But there’s an effort to carefully restore the creek to its former state by redirecting the water through a series of curves, rebuilding wetlands and wildlife habitat and incorporating opportunities for public access. When the work is done, Minnehaha Creek will look and function more like it did decades ago and is destined to become a regional attraction.

By focusing on the area and building relationships with public agencies, businesses, and community groups, the District has been able to enter into a number of unique partnerships that improve Minnehaha Creek while also reaching the goals of its partners. The work has resulted in one of the largest urban stream restorations in Twin Cities history. Check out some of the pieces of this ongoing project:

Minnehaha Creek Preserve
Returned 3,000 foot long section of the creek to a more natural shape and added 2,200 feet of boardwalk and 4,600 feet of paved trail, creating access to 39 acres of previously inaccessible green space. The Preserve manages polluted stormwater from 80 acres of surrounding area that previously flowed untreated into the creek.

Cottageville Park Expansion
Worked with City of Hopkins on its expansion of Cottageville Park that added nearly 5 acres of parkland in a highly developed area. Improvements around the creek keep 26 pounds of phosphorus (which equates to as much as 13,000 pounds of algae) and nearly three tons of eroded soil from entering the creek per year. It also improves wildlife habitat and provides areas to peacefully enjoy the iconic creek.

325 Blake Road Restoration
Working to restore more than 1,000 feet of Minnehaha Creek adjacent to an industrial property between Blake Road and the North Cedar Lake Regional Trail. The MCWD purchased the 16.9-acre property, currently the site of a cold storage warehouse, in 2011 and plans to use the property to treat a significant amount of polluted stormwater from surrounding neighborhoods and to restore the channel. After the restoration is complete, most of the land will be sold off for redevelopment to recover purchase costs.

Methodist Hospital
The first District project in the area returned the creek to a more natural shape, restored wetland vegetation, constructed an elevated boardwalk and canoe landings to increase public access, and added educational signage throughout the site. 

Japs-Olson Company
The District helped manage stormwater for Japs-Olson Company's expansion, and in return the company gave MCWD about four acres of its property near the creek. The District will restore the land and use it connect the Minnehaha Greenway trail system.

Meadowbrook Golf Course
The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board is re-vamping Meadowbrook Golf Course in St. Louis Park after it was damaged by historic flooding in 2014. The MCWD is working in partnership to improve the creek as it travels through the golf course and decrease flood risks while also connecting the Minnehaha Greenway network through the course and into Edina.