I first visited Hall’s Island first before it was and island, for the 2nd time. To me it was a big parcel of land that Wilco played at a couple years ago.
Why was it an island over 50 years ago, why not in 2016, and why again today?
A brief history. The first known survey of the island was in 1895 of the Mississippi River through Minneapolis. It operated as a bath house for a couple decades, and eventually sold to Scherer Bros Lumber Co in 1963. Soon after, they dredged the island to expand their mill operations.
In 2010, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) took it over. Thanks to the board, they excavated the channel just earlier this year to recreate the island. A few geese already call the back channel home along with future expectations including turtles, fish and mussels.
Once I heard of the dredging for the upcoming island (again) last October, I took a 360 degree photo of the whole area still without the island. It was a LOT of open space.
Soon after, my next thought was this is all just fine as long as they don’t churn the land into more condos or commercial waterfront properties. An article frightened me just a bit just by mentioning the word “developers”, but they’re at least initially focusing on natural surroundings.
There are plenty options of visiting here for bicyclists, peds and rollers. This, like Boom Island sits right off Plymouth Ave N. with bike lanes already in place. There are trails coming from all over including N. Minneapolis, St. Anthony Main and other well-used and maintained trails, or essentially the same ways you would get to Boom Island Park.
These are all steps to a larger MPRB project to turn this once Scherer Brothers Lumber Company and industrialized area into a public park to be complete with a gravel beach, what I like to call a public oasis, ecological benefits and even two pedestrian bridges crossing the channel to the island.
According to the RiverFirst Initiative, the Grand Opening for this isn’t until 2022, but it’s nice that the heavy lifting, dredging and excavating is now complete. It’ll take time for the habitat restoration to naturally grow and then fully appreciate this new clean project from the public, to the public.