FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 9, 2021 (MINNEAPOLIS) –
Friends of the Falls, a Minneapolis non-profit seeking to transform the abandoned St. Anthony Falls Lock and Dam site into a nationally-recognized destination, has announced the election of Kevin Armstrong to its board of directors.
The Friends, established in 2015 when the Lock and Dam was closed due to the advance of invasive carp on the Mississippi and reduced commercial activity, is seeking to transform the Lock into a city focal point. The site is adjacent to the only falls on the entire length of the river and to the downtown entry to the historic Stone Arch Bridge.
Friends of the Falls has forged a relationship with the Indigenous community to consider a Native American interpretive center, with extensive education and recreational programs. It would open the river to boating, canoeing, kayaking, fishing and river transit, making the area the central access point to the Mississippi River.
The addition of Armstrong to the Friends of the Falls board signals a shift in focus to begin more advanced financial planning and engagement with senior stakeholders, including elected leaders, for the future transformation of the site.
“We are excited to have Kevin join the Friends of the Falls Board of Directors,” said President Mark Andrew. “Kevin brings a unique combination of global financial services and regulatory expertise that will prove invaluable as we bring the project to scale. He evokes the public-spirited leadership people have come to expect of our organization,” said Andrew.
Armstrong is General Counsel and Chief Legal Officer for Docupace Technologies, an industry leading FinTech company.
Armstrong said the organization’s mission – to transform the Upper Lock at The Falls into a community gathering place, restoring public access to the river – attracted him. “Reimagining riverfront development, so that it can be accessed for both recreation and cultural education is an innovative approach that I am looking forward to being a part of,” said Armstrong. “Their respect for the sacredness of the riverfront to the Native American community will be an important part of the Friends of the Falls legacy.”
Armstrong will advise on the organization’s financial policies and reporting. As a coalition of stakeholders, the Friends of the Falls will rely on his fiduciary stewardship. “The Water Resources Development Act of last year directs the Army Corps to transfer land surrounding the Lock and Dam to the City of Minneapolis, in order to provide more public access to the river,” explained Andrew. “We have been working hard to reclaim, restore and redevelop the land.”
In addition to his board position on Friends of the Falls, Armstrong serves on the Governance Committee as a member of the board of MinnPost, and also serves on the board of directors for the Washington, D.C. based Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights.
About Friends of the Falls
Friends of the Falls was founded in February 2016 by Paul Reyelts and Mark Wilson as a 501(c)(3) public non-profit, seeking to transform the Upper Lock at the Falls into a community gathering place, restoring public access to the river. Since its inception, the organization has raised over $5 million for preliminary design work, built a coalition of more than 24 riverfront community-minded organizations and established a meaningful working relationship with Dakota tribal leadership to advance the concept.
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