Lower Landing Park Renovation

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Project Description

Development of a Renovation Plan for Lower Landing Park.  Lower Landing Park is located southeast of Lowertown, in the Mississippi River flood plain and it is part of the Great River Passage. The 21.4 acre site is mostly open green space. The Samuel H. Morgan Regional Trail runs through the park along the edge of the river.  Lower Landing Park Renovation planning will invite park neighbors and other stakeholders to share their visions for the park's design, identify current park usages, propose design strategies, and establish renovation priorities. The Renovation Plan design process will be conducted by Saint Paul Parks & Recreation with the collaboration and input of adjacent neighborhood residents, interested community parties and public in general.  This process will be guided with a Design Advisory Committee comprised of people interested and willing to participate.

Project Background

A long standing desire to recapture the Mississippi riverfront in Saint Paul was realized in 1992 when Warner Road was realigned away from the river bank, leaving a large swath of open public riverfront parkland.  Included in the road realignment construction project were funds for building a part of the Samuel H. Morgan Trail, landscaping the parkland, creating stormwater ponding and overall creation of a framework for future development of the park. In the intervening years, important growth of the areas surrounding the park has continued with these developments:

  • Restoration of Union Depot, now an important urban transportation hub
  • Completion of the Green line light rail system.
  • Construction of CHS field, home of the Saint Paul Saints Baseball team.
  • Construction of the Lower Phalen Creek Trail, connecting Lowertown to the Bruce Vento Regional Trail and the Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary. 
  • Reconstruction of the Lafayette Bridge.
  • Opening of several Lowertown residential developments.
  • Creation of the Great River Passage (GRP), the City’s master planning effort to improve the urban riverfront parks and public spaces. 

It is now time to take a fresh look at Lower Landing  Park. What beneficial improvements can be made to the park that support residents and businesses of the surrounding neighborhood?  What important environmental benefits does the park provide and how can those benefits be  protected and enhanced.  The completed Master Plan can answer these questions and provide a community supported direction for park improvements and a list of priorities for implementing them.    

Current Site Conditions

The site is mostly open green space except for some plaza and parking areas at the west end of the park and the Samuel H. Morgan Regional Trail that runs through the park along the edge of the river. The trail is lighted with the river park standard; string of pearls ‘globe lights’ at 75’ o.c.  The adjacent River edge is a heavily used barge fleeting area. Access for pedestrians and bicyclists is via the Sam Morgan Regional Trail at both ends. From the parking lot to the vehicular entrance at the other end of the park is about 0.6 mile.  The closest vehicular access is at the (25 + 2 HC )parking lot at the west end of the park. At the east end there is maintenance vehicle access through a gated entry.  Two built wetlands within the park are part of the Warner Road construction's stormwater treatment plans. Also included is a wood deck, river overlook in serious need of repair/replacement.

Warner road rises out of the flood plain on an earth berm, originally planted with native prairie grasses but is now corrupted with invasive weeds and a dense collection of volunteer trees. Multiple, seldom used picnic tables are scattered within the mowed turf area.

Damage from the use of the site for the Lafayette bridge construction staging is about 1.6 ac. of compacted soil under and around the bridge. A large, two mast, high power line was added or modified at the time of bridge construction.

Scope of Work

  1. Park Renovation Planning Phase

    1. Review existing GRP plan and evaluate how those plans can be adjusted to fit into the current neighborhood context

    2. Engage the community in re-affirming the park’s purpose and establish near term (next 5 yrs.) goals and objectives

    3. Prioritize the neighborhood needs and how they can be supported by one or more aspects of the Renovation Plan development

  2. Project Development Phase

    1. Select some aspect of the Park Renovation Plan for a construction project based on the priorities established in the Park Renovation Planning phase

    2. Re-convene a community task force to develop the selected construction project

    3. Begin construction project design and development

Related Master Plans

Great River Passage

East Bank Mississippi River Regional Trail Corridor Master Plan

Greater Lowertown Master Plan


Upcoming Meetings and Activities

Look forward to upcoming meetings and events!

Past Meetings

February 8, 2018                       Parks Commission Meeting -  Langford Recreation Center  6.30 - 8 pm

  • Open House Notes
  • Resolution for  Lower Landing Master Plan as an amendment of East Bank Mississippi River Corridor Master Plan ( Samuel H. Morgan Regional Trail)

Please, email bianca.paz@ci.stpaul.mn.us if you have questions about the schedule or if you require special accommodations

We have available translators in Spanish, Hmong and Somali. Contact bianca.paz@ci.stpaul.mn.us if you would like translation services. Bianca habla Español.

February 6 , 2018                      Design Advisory Committee  Meeting and Lowertown Residents. Location: Black Dog  5-7 pm

February 2, 2018                       Open House. Location : Sibley Parks Apartments Downtown Saint Paul  5 -7 pm

November 2nd , 2017                      Open House.  Location: Black Dog Cafe 4 - 7pm

Friday October 20, 2017                   Meeting with Sibley Parks Apartment Residents.  Location: Sibley Parks Apartments Community Room.

Wednesday September 6, 2017    Meeting with DAC. Location: Black Dog Cafe Time: 5.30-7.00

Thursday June 15, 2017                 Meeting with DAC and Lowertown residents. Location: Black Dog Cafe  Time:5-7 pm

Saturday, May 20 2017                   Park Awareness WalkCANCELLED   Based upon Saturday's weather forecast we have made the decision to cancel the park walk and reschedule it on Sat, June 3

Please join us on a guided Park Walk at Lower Landing Park with Project Manager and Design Team.  The purpose of the walk is to give the Design Advisory Committee and interested parties, a fresh look at the park as it is today and to help understand the evolving neighborhood context. Together we can share our impressions of what is there now, what we like and what we  don’t like and we’ll see, firsthand, the other constrains and opportunities in the park.  This will be a great opportunity to analyze the existing conditions of the park and discuss areas of interest for the renovation  and operations of the park.

Saturday May 6, 2017            Pop-Up Engagement Mobile Stand.  Location: Wacouta Commons, Mears Park and Lower Landing Park  Time:10am-1pm

March 27, 2017                         Capitol River Council Meeting.

Community Research

Park Designers attended Workshop Sustaining Cultures: Honoring the Native History in Today's Public Park with Jim Rock and Melanie Kleiss  ( August 1, 2017)

Park staff and representatives from Native American communities shared stories about indigenous peoples who made their lives along the river. We learnt about the natural spaces and their meaning and talk about how to successfully balanced that significance of the sites with the surrounding use as well as how we can improve dialogue to highlight culturally significant places in our park system. How all voices can be heard as plans to improve the river corridor and park spaces for future use are developed.

Park Designers attended Bdote Field trip: Dakota in the Twin Cities  (September, 2017)

Visited  local sites of significance to Dakota people and learnt about them from Dakota perspectives. Learnt about Dakota history and identity and gained a deeper understanding of the significance of places like Pilot Knob, Wakan Tipi, and Mounds Park to this land’s first people.

Project Update

Lower Landing Park Design Advisory Committee: (TBD)

Technical Advisors:

  • Rory Stierler - National Park Service
  • Karin Misiewicz - Parks and Recreation Maintenance/Operations
  • Adam Robbins - Parks and Recreation Natural Resources