The plan, with a visitor center and performance space, would remake Mill Ruins Park and the Stone Arch Bridge area but push out a hydro plant.
The lock at St. Anthony Falls, no longer used for navigation, could be transformed into a park with an interpretive center and performance space under a plan being floated by a new nonprofit formed by riverfront advocates.
The pitch by the Friends of the Lock and Dam includes a glass-sided observation platform slung over the lock and beside the falls, sloping lawns, concessions and a beefed-up visitor center built atop a 280-car parking garage. It would completely remake the area near Mill Ruins Park, the planned Water Works Park straddling W. River Parkway and the Stone Arch Bridge.
“The bridge is great but on both ends it is still undeveloped … with dirt paths and asphalt parking,” said Tom Fisher, director of the Metropolitan Design Center and a board member of the new Friends of the Lock and Dam. “Why not make it a national destination?”