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Opportunities and Constraints for Winona’s Riverfront.

Garnaas-Holmes, Erin.

Located on the banks of the Mississippi River in southeastern Minnesota, the City of Winona’s scenic, ecological, and cultural characteristics are some of its strongest assets. Winona is clearly a community with important connections to its water resources. Some of these connections are utilized effectively; some connections are in need of re-connection, and other connections are less understood or under-developed. The research project begins with an understanding that the physical context- including over 50 miles of river, lake, and wetland shoreline within its municipal boundary- is a key asset to the identity and resilience of the community. Winona’s waterfronts include an amazing range of public spaces from the passive ‘traditional’ park spaces along Lake Winona to the ecologically rich wetlands, sloughs, and riparian forest islands and the current Levee Park in the city’s center.

Much of Winona’s riverfront and water frontages are unrealized city amenities. With over 8 miles of shoreline along the Mississippi River, Winona is clearly well positioned to improve public access, recreation, and other programming that celebrates its connection to the river, strengthens its economic vitality, supports tourism, and enhances the community as a good place to live.

Like many post-industrial river cities, Winona is a water city that has turned its back on its waterfront. Its Levee Park and its surrounding environments have ceased to be the welcoming place of civic activity that it has been in the past. Currently it is a rarely used space dominated by a concrete flood control structure.

This research project examined Opportunities and Constraints for rethinking land use and programming along the riverfront in Winona. After a two-day site visit and meetings with local stakeholders, the Center for Changing Landscapes identified seven major opportunities for Winona. These opportunities considered large scale trends in Winona over history and will inform how the Center moves forward with scenario planning and vision planning in the fall of 2013.

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Prepared in partnership with The Center for Changing Landscapes and The City of Winona by the Community Assistantship Program (CAP), which is administered by the Center for Urban and Regional Affairs (CURA) at the University of Minnesota.
30 pp.
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