An extension of Mill Ruins Park, this six-acre site parallels the Mississippi River. During the height of the milling industry, the river was diverted into canals to power flour mills extending for blocks. The ruins of several are extant within the park and formerly enclosed a restaurant. Damon Farber Landscape Architects led a design team to reimagine the mill ruins and adjacent land into a pavilion and park to facilitate public gathering and provide visitor amenities. HGA incorporated mill ruins into Water Works Pavilion, housing a meeting room, restrooms, and a restaurant, Owamni, by The Sioux Chef, dedicated to Indigenous cuisine. The park opened in summer 2021.
A public plaza at the building entrance features native woodland plantings and a historic cottonwood, fire features, and seating. A lawn connects the building to a play area and bike trail on the site’s north side. A sculptural ramp provides an accessible route from First Street, with terraced greenspace, steps, and seating. Native plantings are woven throughout the park and are irrigated by a regional rainwater capture system. An upper dining terrace connects to the restaurant and provides dramatic views of the river and falls.
Interpretive features address the connected nature of the river, Saint Anthony Falls ("Owámniyomni"), the milling industry and indigenous culture. Several interventions within the park function for Dakota Language learning, and Dakota beadwork artist Holly Young designed patterns featured within the space.
The project was a partnership between the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board and the Minneapolis Parks Foundation.