In 1883, landscape architect H.W.S. Cleveland envisioned a continuous “green necklace” of parkways and open space around Minneapolis. Following in the 1900’s, the links began to forming the necklace, which is now more commonly known as the Grand Rounds National Scenic Byway. Today, the Grand Rounds includes over 50 miles of parkway, bicycle and pedestrian trails around Minneapolis. Over 100 years-old, the Grand Rounds is the only designated urban Scenic Byway within the U.S. It attracts over 14 million visits each year.
However, there is a three-mile gap in the Grand Rounds located in northeast and southeast Minneapolis between St. Anthony Parkway and River Road. To fulfill Cleveland’s original vision, the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board has begun a study phase to complete the project that has been over 125 years in the making.
The study phase will incorporate community input and technical review to select a good route through which to complete the Grand Rounds loop. Proposed routes and designs will be evaluated on neighborhood impact and their connectivity to existing and proposed bicycle and pedestrian routes, park and open spaces, and transportation corridors, among other criteria. The chosen location will result in the development of a plan for the completion of what has been referred to as the “Missing Link.”
A citizen advisory committee has actually already recommended a route on the far eastern industrial edge of Minneapolis to connect northeast Minneapolis with East River Road, plus locations for creating additional parkland along that route. Three public hearings have been scheduled by the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board to take comments on the proposed route:
• June 18, board headquarters, 2117 W River Pkwy.
• June 23, Van Cleve Park, 901 15th Av. SE.
• July 1, Windom Park, 2251 NE. Hayes St.
All hearings begin at 6:30 p.m.
Implementation of the routes countruction will begin as funds become available. It is anticipated that completion of the Grand Rounds will take many years.