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Midtown Community Works

Since it began in 1995, Hennepin County Midtown Community Works has brought together a range of partners to develop and support the Midtown Greenway and the Lake Street corridor. Through partnerships with other agencies and organizations, Midtown Community Works developed the Midtown Greenway from an abandoned rail corridor into the vibrant and valuable amenity it is today. These partnerships and continued investment in the corridor have also helped catalyze:

  • More than $750 million in public and private investment
  • Creation of thousands of new jobs in the corridor
  • An increase in cycling in Minneapolis
  • Over 5,000 plantings of trees and shrubs along the Greenway
  • Creation of new park space

Program closing phase improvements

On July 18, 2017, the Hennepin County Board of Commissioners approved up to $765,000 for final implementation of the Midtown Community Works program. Key active projects on and around the Midtown Greenway include:

  • Four Sisters Farm in partnership with the Native American Community Development Institute (NACDI)
  • Midtown Greenway pedestrian and bikeway safety improvements: visit project webpage for more information and updates.
  • Midtown Greenway ADA Accessible Connections project at Harriet and Garfield
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Urban agriculture transformation planned in East Phillips neighborhood, 2021

Hennepin County is working with the Native American Community Development Institute (NACDI) to transform two vacant lots owned by the Hennepin County Regional Railroad Authority (HCRRA) near the Midtown Greenway into an urban farm and community gathering place.

NACDI will operate the Four Sisters Farm on the site to provide access to fresh healthy foods and serve as a learning environment for indigenous farming, medicine, and lifeways.

The project site is located along East 29th Street between 16th and 18th Avenues South near the Midtown Greenway in the East Philips neighborhood of South Minneapolis. Construction and implementation are to take place in spring and summer of 2021. Improvements will include tree plantings, water installation, walkways, raised beds, and hardscape upgrades for better site circulation, and public art.

View the site concept (PDF).

Get involved

The project team gathered community input at an initial project kick-off event October 12, 2020, at the project site, with social distancing and masks required. Additionally, community members provided feedback in an online survey, available in English, Spanish and Somali. Community members expressed overwhelming support for, and interest in, the project.

View the community engagement summary (PDF).

Community members are invited to share ideas and participate. For more information, to get involved, or to share feedback, please contact Crystal Myslajek at

Learn more about the project (PDF).

Celebración de la cultura y construcción de la comunidad a través de la agricultura urbana en East Philips (PDF).

Beerta Afarta Gabdhood ee Walaalaha ah (PDF).

Midtown Greenway Community Safety Design Study

In 2019, Hennepin County Regional Railroad Authority (HCRRA) conducted a Community Safety Design Study to identify possible preventive and equitable safety improvements to the Midtown Greenway within HCRRA’s purview. During the course of the study, HCRRA and county staff participated in over 30 meetings with a wide range of stakeholders. The study was rooted in a landscape design approach and the resulting report presents a menu of landscape design, maintenance and operations recommendations to improve safety and create a welcoming environment for all community members.

View the Midtown Greenway Community Safety Design Study (PDF).

Since the conclusion of the study, HCRRA has already taken or plans to implement several measures adapted from the Community Safety Design study. Highlights of these measures that respond to maintenance and safety needs and support the county’s goals of addressing racial disparities and ending homelessness include:

  • Hennepin County Security – daily patrolling by unarmed officers trained in de-escalation, relationship building, emergency response, administering Narcan, and crisis intervention with an emphasis on mental health.
  • Four Sisters Urban Farm – project with Native American Community Development Institute to transform excess HCRRA property into a site for community health and food access.
  • Regional trail designation – designation will bring additional resources through Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board trail operations support.
  • Landscape improvements – including low-mow planting pilot, additional trash cans, and treatments under bridges.
  • Safety improvements at intersections – several intersections were improved this summer with more visible crosswalk markings, pedestrian ramps, and other treatments.
  • New code-of-conduct signs with list of user responsibilities and prohibited activities posted throughout the corridor.
  • Continuous monitoring through coordination and communication with stakeholders.

Midtown Greenway pedestrian and bikeway safety improvements

Hennepin County will make safety improvements at seven intersections for people who walk, bike and roll on the Midtown Greenway in Minneapolis.

Construction began in May 2021.

The seven Midtown Greenway intersections planned for improvements are:

  • James Avenue
  • Irving Avenue
  • Humboldt Avenue
  • 5th Avenue
  • 28th Street East
  • Hiawatha Avenue (Highway 55)
  • Minnehaha Avenue

View the project page for more information and updates.

ADA accessible connections project at Harriet and Garfield

This project will construct a new ADA accessible ramp to the Midtown Greenway between Garfield and Harriet avenues to ensure community members of all abilities will be able to enjoy the Midtown Greenway, while retaining and supporting the integrity of the Soo Line Garden. The project is entering the preliminary design phase which includes engaging community members in the design. The new ramp will be constructed in 2023.

Sign up to receive project updates.

General info

The Greenway runs for 6 miles in a historic railroad trench beneath bridged streets in south Minneapolis, which makes biking or walking along it a distinctive experience. The Sensible Land Use Coalition named the Midtown Greenway a Great Place in 2014, and USA Today called it a Top Urban Bike Path in 2013. It is also key part of the regional transportation and bikeway network, linking Uptown, the Midtown Global Market and an array of other retail and cultural destinations between the Mississippi River and the Chain of Lakes. Annually, more than 1.5 million people take advantage of this flat, easy, mostly car-free east-west route across the city.


The Midtown Corridor was constructed in the 1910's as a freight rail corridor. With the decline of rail service, however, by the mid-1990's the corridor had become a neglected place that was attracting crime and contributing to lower land values, disinvestment, and blight in nearby neighborhoods. In 1995, Hennepin County identified the Midtown corridor as a priority area for its new community works initiative. After an extensive planning effort, the Greenway was constructed in three phases between 1999 and 2006. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2005, and in 2007, the Martin Olav Sabo Bridge opened, linking the Greenway over Hiawatha Avenue.

Visit the Midtown Greenway Coalition website for more information.

Midtown Greenway inducted into national Rail-to-Trail Hall of Fame

In September 2015, the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy announced that the Midtown Greenway had joined a select group of trails on the national Rail-to-Trail Hall of Fame. Trails are honored on merits such as scenic value, high use, trail and trailside amenities, historical significance, excellence in management and maintenance of facility, community connections and geographic distribution. Read more about the award and the greenway in the October 16 TrailBlog.

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