MWMO Awards Grant for Ole Olson Park

Shoreline Restoration and Habitat Improvements Planned Alongside New Trail Connections

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MINNEAPOLIS — The Mississippi Watershed Management Organization (MWMO) is pleased to announce that it has awarded a grant for shoreline restoration and habitat improvements at Ole Olson Park in Minneapolis. The $419,960 grant to the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) will be used to improve access to the Mississippi River and expand native prairie habitat at the site.

The MPRB is planning a number of improvements to the park, including new bike and pedestrian trail connections underneath the BNSF railroad bridge between West River Road and the 26th Avenue Overlook. These improvements will close a significant trail gap within the greater Minneapolis parks system. A new riverfront gathering space and trailside overlook are also planned at the park.

The MWMO grant funds will allow the MPRB to go above and beyond their original plans by removing contaminated soil from the site, regrading the shoreline to a more gradual slope, and establishing native vegetation alongside the new trails.

“We’re proud to partner once again with the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board to make the riverfront at Ole Olson Park a more welcoming and natural place,” said MWMO Executive Director Kevin Reich. “We will continue to aggressively pursue every opportunity to add high-quality habitat corridors along the Mississippi River in our watershed.”

The site contains contaminated soils that were pushed to the edges of the riverbank during a previous era to create more space for industrial uses. Potential contaminants include petroleum products, chlorinated solvents, and other industrial debris. Removing and properly disposing of these contaminated soils will ensure they don’t erode over time and pollute the river.

Removing the contaminated soils will also pave the way for a more gradual slope that improves sightlines and pedestrian access to the riverbank. The new slope will also make it easier to establish the new native grasses and flowers, which will connect with a previous habitat restoration project currently maintained by Friends of the Mississippi River.

The new bike and pedestrian trails through the park will connect with the 26th Avenue North Overlook, which the MWMO supported with a grant for habitat enhancements in 2019.

Ole Olson Park Adopted Concept Plan JPEG
The adopted concept plan for Ole Olson Park. (Credit: Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board.)


Media Contact

Nick Busse, Communications Principal
Mississippi Watershed Management Organization
Direct: 612-746-4974

About the MWMO

The MWMO is a public organization that partners to protect and improve water and habitat in our urban watershed. We invest in people and infrastructure to support clean water, and provide knowledge, scientific data and expertise to help manage our vital water resources.

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