Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board


Resolution Authorizing a Professional Services Agreement with Barr Engineering to Provide Professional Consulting Services for the Environmental Review and Permitting Process Associated with the Development and Construction of Hall's Island, for a Fee Not to Exceed $396,000


Department:Design and Project ManagementSponsors:
Category:Professional Services AgreementProjects:No Project

Item Discussion

Whereas, The Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board (MPRB) is the steward of Minneapolis parks;


Whereas, The MPRB is authorized to contract with public and private entities in the performance of its functions;


Whereas, The MPRB has allocated regional park funding for environmental review and permitting associated with the development and construction of Hall's Island in the Mississippi River near the Scherer site;


Whereas, The construction and development of Hall’s Island will reintroduce a historic island in the river that was removed in the 1960s, provide unique river access, restore habitat, and enhance ecological function;


Whereas, On May 7, 2014 the MPRB Board of Commissioners approved a resolution granting local approval to laws of Minnesota 2013, Chapter 114, Article 4, Section 98, Pursuant to Minnesota Statutes §645.021, Subdivisions 2 and 3, authorizing the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board to re-create Hall’s Island within the Mississippi River;


Whereas, The Barr Engineering team has worked extensively with the TLS/KVA team throughout the RiverFirst schematic design process, specifically the development of Hall’s Island;


Whereas, Staff has reviewed the proposal submitted by Barr Engineering and recommends their continued involvement in the project; and


Whereas, This resolution is supported by the MPRB 2007-2020 Comprehensive Plan, which envisions “Dynamic parks that shape city character and meet diverse community needs”;


RESOLVED, That the Board of Commissioners approve a professional services agreement with Barr Engineering for environmental review and permitting associated with the development and construction of Hall's Island, in an amount not to exceed $396,000; and


RESOLVED, That the President of the Board and Secretary to the Board are authorized to take all necessary administrative actions to implement this resolution.





This action considers a professional services agreement with Barr Engineering, Inc., in the amount of $396,000, for preparation of environmental reviews and permitting documents associated with the planned development of Hall’s Island within the Above the Falls Regional Park.  In order to proceed with the development and construction of Hall’s Island multiple state and federal permits and specific environmental reviews will be required.

The recreation of Hall’s Island entails constructing a nearly 4.4 acre island within the Mississippi River.  Minnesota Environmental Review (MN Rule 4410) requires a mandatory Environmental Assessment Worksheet be prepared and submitted for approval for any project resulting in a one acre or more change to the cross section of the Mississippi River.  In addition, the permitting for Hall’s Island will require approval from multiple agencies, including the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA), U.S Fish and Wildlife Services (USFWS), Hennepin Conservation District and, the City of Minneapolis.    

The creation of the island will require dredging and filling within navigable waters.  These dredging operations will require both a Section 404 and Section 10 permits from USACE.  Other key challenges associated with this project are related to submission of a Conditional Letter of Map Revision (CLOMR), thus altering the FEMA flood map, management of contaminated soil and dredged materials, identifying threatened and endangered species, and inventorying all historic and cultural resources.  As part of the permitting process, multiple studies will be conducted such as hydraulic modeling for floodplain evaluation, soil and dredge material sampling and, a river channel mussel survey.

It is anticipated for the permitting process to be on going for more than a year.  The CLOMR repot alone will take 9 to 12 months to complete.  As part of the Minnesota state statute authorizing the MPRB to recreate and restore Hall’s Island, the MPRB has six years to complete all permitting and construct the island.  Given the level of understanding and familiarity Barr Engineering has with this project and many of the permitting requirements, they will move as quickly as possible through this process with the expectation that development of construction documents will begin soon thereafter.

It is expected that as the permitting process unfolds, revisions to the final design of the island will be requiredBarr Engineering was part of Tom Leader Studios (TLS) design team during the RiverFirst Initiative, so they have a strong working relationship and collaboration on the project.  TLS and Barr Engineering will be able to work together to coordinate design modifications as needed to address any environmental issues that may arise during the permitting investigations.

Barr Engineering is based in Minneapolis and has significant experience in this type of review and permitting process.  Barr’s team members have a good understanding of the RiverFirst plan and more specifically, the development of Hall’s Island.  Staff considers Barr’s team’s complementary mix of talents and expertise to be of great benefit to the development of Halls Island.








Parks and Trails Fund















Phase 1 Permitting Services





PSA Agreement with Barr Engineering for Phase 2 and Phase 3 environmental review and permitting


Pending Board Approval


MPRB Staff Time
















May 7, 2014              Resolution Granting Local Approval to Laws of Minnesota 2013, Chapter 114, Article 4, Section 98, Pursuant to Minnesota Statutes  §645.021, Subdivisions 2 and 3 Authorizing the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board to Re-Create Hall’s Island Within the Mississippi River


Staff recommends approval of a professional services agreement with Barr Engineering for environmental review and permitting associated with the development and construction of Hall's Island, in an amount not to exceed $396,000.

This action is supported by the following vision and goal statements in the MPRB 2007-2020 Comprehensive Plan.

Vision Theme 3:              Dynamic parks that shape city character and meet diverse community needs


Goal:              Park facility renewal and development respects history and focuses on sustainability, accessibility, flexibility and beauty.



Meeting History

Aug 20, 2014 5:00 PM  Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board Regular Meeting
MOVER:Scott Vreeland, Vice President, Commissioner District 3
SECONDER:John Erwin, Commissioner At Large
AYES:Liz Wielinski, Scott Vreeland, Brad Bourn, John Erwin, Meg Forney, Steffanie Musich, Jon Olson, Anita Tabb, Annie Young