Winona, MN | Sports + Recreation
Through collaborative efforts, ISG helped revitalize Winona’s riverfront area. The redesigned Levee Park has increased foot traffic and better connects Winona locals and tourists to the natural beauty around them.
After decades of fractured attempts and citizen demands to remodel Levee Park, which overlooks the Mississippi River, the City of Winona spurred these dreams into action by dedicating $2.2 million to the project in 2016. To help with the large scale endeavor, the City asked ISG to prepare schematic design options and cost estimates that integrated community needs with cost-effective practices.
Providing a functional and aesthetic space within budget for community members was a primary concern from the onset. This goal was upheld from start to finish by formulating a comprehensive understanding the City of Winona’s goals. Prior to drafting preliminary designs, ISG reviewed existing planning documents, aerial photographs, topographic maps, and additional data to capture an accurate image of City needs and wants. This image was confirmed through close collaboration with the City. Following initial research, a site visit to the current park, followed by an in-person meeting with City staff, solidified an understanding of the project. The City was also consulted during the schematic design process, and three feasible options of updating Levee Park were presented to the entire City Council. Cost estimates, phased planning, and construction administration ensured that proposed changes could be completed within budgetary confines.
A major feature of Levee Park was the construction of an elevated plaza with both indoor and outdoor usage. The elevated design created a sloped lawn that permitted seating for up to 390 individuals. The upper portion of the plaza can accommodate 485 additional individuals and includes an outdoor amphitheater and dining area. Positioning the amphitheater to face true north leaves the area open enough for people enjoy an open view of scenic bluffs and the Mississippi River. Multi-use interior space will provide visitors with in-ground water jets, winter ice skating, and performance seating. Throughout the park, wayfinding, lighting, and visitor accessibility were improved to enhance the visitor experience and make the Park easy to navigate for everyone. Bike paths were also added and preexisting ones enhanced to link visitors to larger, regional and state trails. Changes were also made to surrounding areas such as mapping out parking on Main Street and adding vegetation to the railroad corridor. The park entrance was decorated with a horizontal gateway that spanned Main Street, welcoming visitors with warm limestone and intricate stained glass patterns.