By Mark Andrew | March 10, 2021

Written in response to ‘Feds find no takers for mothballed Mississippi River lock in Minneapolis’.

To the Editor:

So the Army Corps of Engineers wishes to abandon the Lock at St. Anthony Falls so someone else can manage the city’s water supply, prevent flooding and maintain the Lock in perpetuity? Even though this action is in clear violation of Federal directives? And no qualified entity exists?

Lost in the conversation about the Corps’ baffling effort to abandon the Lock and Dam is a critical question: Should the federal government be allowed to let the Upper Lock decay at a key location on our city’s riverfront; or should the Corps cooperate with the community and dispose of a few unwanted acres adjacent to the Lock so it can be repurposed for public use?

It is mind-boggling that it has taken 6 years, multiple federal laws and unanimous pressure from involved Minnesota members of Congress to advance the simple conveyance of a site the size of a postage stamp.

Many have weighed in on the value of repurposing the Upper Lock, with ideas like a Native American interpretive center, a marina, green space, walking trails, a visitor center and space for meditation.

The Army Corps’ intent to find a new owner and walk away from the Lock – without first conveying this adjacent real estate – would guarantee this strategic river site lies fallow for many years.

Friends of the Falls, the Native American Community Development Institute, justice advocates and the general public await an outcome that protects the public interest and empowers the community to determine the best future of this site.

Mark Andrew is president of the non-profit Friends of the Falls.

Read the letter at StarTribune.com

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