By next summer, Raspberry Island, which can be found beneath the Wabasha Street Bridge in downtown St. Paul, is going to be converted into a real park. After years of planning, the city of St. Paul recently began a $5 million reconstruction of its last true island. Currently, construction crews are replacing a concrete shoreline with limestone riprap. By the fall, workers will begin building new paths, lighting, and public restrooms.
It is commonly known as Navy Island, as was a naval training site after World War II. In the past, the island has played host to music concerts. Since 1870, the Minnesota Boat Club has based its rowing operations there. It has sometimes served as a spillover area for Taste of Minnesota. Lately it has become a site for riverfront weddings and other special events.
St. Paul officials and riverfront boosters have been talking about enhancing the 2-acre island for more than ten years. In 2005, the state awarded nearly $5 million to the project.
By July 2008, fishing enthusiasts will be able to cast their lines after strolling down a new set of steps to the water's edge. Seating will make it easier for island visitors to sit back, relax, and watch the barges go by. Public restrooms will be installed in the restored boat club building.
Though some cottonwood trees on the east side of the island must be removed for the shoreline improvements, as part of the project, the island will be reforested with hundreds of trees and shrubs. In fact, the new Raspberry Island will look a lot greener next year as the project calls for:
- 131 trees
- 443 shrubs
- 4,000 ornamental grasses
- 10,000 sedge plants
- 1,400 wildflowers
- 900 perennials
- 300 ferns
The park will be closed all summer for the construction. Read more about Saint Paul parks or explore Saint Paul real estate opportunities in a city with one of the best park systems in the nation.