photo by Sara Thatcher

The Great River Passage Initiative is the outcome of the award-winning Great River Passage Master Plan. The result of a robust multi-year community engagement process, the Master Plan outlines City-wide goals for river transformation, 321 proposed projects along the river, leadership structure, and initial cost estimates to re-orient the City to the river and enhance or introduce new city-building systems and strategic sites to the landscape.

The vision of the master plan, approved by the Saint Paul City Council in 2013, is threefold:

  1. More Connected: Every resident lives within a short distance to our shared resource, the Mississippi River. The plan is to strengthen existing and create new connections along the river and into the neighborhoods and the City, establish view corridors into and across the river, and integrate the river and its stories into the community conscious.
  2. More Natural: Along the 26 miles of riverfront that runs through Saint Paul, there are 3,500 acres of parks, public space, natural areas, wetlands and lakes. The Mississippi River continues to be an international migratory bird flyway, a nesting ground for bald eagles and herons, and one of the greatest fisheries in Minnesota. The initiative will respect, enhance and steward this great amenity to become a more thriving system of habitat, open space, and natural features that will define a healthy and vibrant Saint Paul.
  3. More Urban: To capitalize on the economic development momentum already established and elevate it to a place of great urban design – the intent is to balance environmental stewardship with high-quality, forward-thinking development that will continue to drive economic growth for generations to come.

Phase 1

2011 – 2016
Phase 1 of the Great River Passage included:
  • Creation of the Great River Master Plan
  • 2013 Saint Paul City Council approval of the Master Plan
  • Implementation of select projects totaling approximately $28 million. The planned, underway or completed
    projects include master plans, park improvements, trails and infrastructure planning and programming.

Phase 2

2016 – 2017

Phase 2 launched the Great River Passage Initiative beginning September 2016 with the funding and hiring of initiative leadership:

Mary deLaittre Manager, Great River Passage Initiative

Angie Tillges Fellow, Great River Passage Initiative

To date, the approach the Great River Passage Initiative Team will focus on is:

  1. Leadership and Partnerships
  2. Priority capital projects
  3. Communications
  4. Programs, events, public art
  5. Public and private fundraising

DRAFT Priority Projects
DRAFT Program and Events

We are cultivating use of Great River Passage for all by promoting existing
programs and events and creating new routines and traditions through a variety of experiences. These experiences fall under the categories of Wilderness, Wellness and Recreation, Culture and Gathering, People and Story.