The American Society of Landscape Architects- Minnesota Chapter (ASLA-MN) congratulates the following 2013 design award recipient. Awards were presented at the awards banquet on May 3, 2013 at the Marsh in Minnetonka. Awards were juried by the Colorado Chapter of ASLA, and are a great honor in the design community. Hoisington Koegler Group, Inc. received a merit award in the General Design category for their design of River’s Edge Commons in Elk River, MN.
River’s Edge Commons has several unique factors that make it award-worthy. The City of Elk River, MN, at the confluence of the Mississippi and Elk Rivers had no public river access downtown. The city wanted to strengthen the long-term viability of and enliven downtown by embracing the river. River’s Edge Commons was completed in 2007 and is on the site of a former hardware store, which burned in the 1950’s, leaving the site as a gap in the historic storefronts of the downtown district for more than five decades. The design includes a street level plaza with a popular interactive fountain, pavilion, and a hillside performance venue overlooking the Mississippi River. The design uses native materials, innovative stormwater techniques incorporating raingardens, and low water consumption techniques for the site irrigation. It also celebrates history through interpretation, preservation of a culturally significant wall mural, and respect for the architectural era of downtown. Today, the park attracts over 20,000 people annually with concerts, movies, weddings, and special events. The success of the park has sparked additional public investment downtown, including a river walk and the relocation of the farmers market to an adjacent site.