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Minnehaha Falls to undergo $3 million renovation

Construction planned for beloved Minneapolis waterfalls
Construction planned for beloved Minneapolis waterfalls 01:44

MINNEAPOLIS — A multimillion dollar renovation is coming to a Minneapolis landmark, as leaders with the city's parks and recreation board look to increase safety and accessibility.

The plan to renovate and restore portions of the park at Minnehaha Falls is still being developed — mockups aren't expected until July — but the work will directly target the south side of the falls.

The goal will be to repair stairs and viewing areas that have been decimated by constant mist in the warm months and ice in the cold months. The plans also look to address replacing a failing boardwalk at along the creek below the falls.

"We want people to enjoy the views, and enjoy the park, but we want them to be safe while they're doing that," said Carol HejlStone, who serves as the project's manager for the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board. "We want to have safe access for people, we want to keep all our park users safe when they're enjoying the facilities – unfortunately these areas are just in a state where we just had to close them."

The last effort to repair the walls along the south side of the falls was in 2009-2010, HejlStone said. The "south slope" is technically more of a piecing together of projects spanning close to 90 years' time.

"From a high level overview, I'd say the park is really in great shape – we spend a lot of time and effort here keeping it in good working order. With that said, there are a couple of components that do need quite a bit of love," she said.

Construction on the project could start as soon as next year – and could take up to a year to complete. Once a plan is unveiled, it'll need to be reviewed by the community and ultimately approved by city entities.

Once it's done, HejlStone says it'll create a more accessible park – and views of the falls unseen for quite some time. 

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