Beautification of the urban landscape was a goal of the Johnson Administration when I was a local government reporter at the Idaho Statesman in Boise in 1964-69. As an eager boy reporter I was quite committed to the cause and reported extensively on urban renewal and plans for a Boise River Greenway that came to pass years later. It’s beautiful unless the river floods and then it’s every man for himself. A year ago my former Statesman reporter comrade Dave Frazier took me to the river interpretive center that provides an educational experience on rivers.
As I drove into Minneapolis from Boise in 1969 on my way to UM Graduate School, I heard on the car radio tuned to KUOM that the University was offering an Urban River symposium at he Minneapolis Art Institute. During the symposium we took a boat trip on the mighty Mississippi where we witnessed the sad state of affairs including junk yards and other blight,
The river over a period of years has become a crown jewel in our Twin Cities landscape as you can see from the photo above with the new park at St. Anthony Main that actually extends into the river and offers a breath taking panorama of this magnificent body of water, On the south side near the Guthrie Theater, a beautiful green park is the latest addition to the river renewal story.
With the river drives in both cities that extend from the University campus to the Ford plant in St. Paul you could get close to the river. Now that Ford is coming apart, the land will probably be marketed for high buck condominiums overlooking the river.
Sadly access to the river is difficult since it is many treacherous feet below street level. That didn’t stop a group of us from hiking to the river’s edge every year for a summer solstice late night gathering. With the new parks in downtown Minneapolis, the river is now quite accessible.