Location: 2nd St & 11th Ave S Minneapolis, MN 55401
Cost: $5 million
Official Opening Date: May 2007
Located in the heart of Minneapolis’ historic Mill District, Gold Medal Park is a simple, elegant park providing respite from city life along the riverfront. “Inspired by the Dakota Indians’ burial mounds found throughout Minnesota,” the local landscape architecture firm Oslund and Associates designed a sculptural observation mound with a spiral walkway to mark the centerpiece of the park. 32 feet in height and 350 feet in diameter, the height and size of the mound are perfect for visitors to gather and observe the view over the Stone Arch Bridge and Mississippi River.
Previously an industrial landscape, Oslund and Associates had to design a strategy to deal with the contaminated soil. Deciding to go with a sculptural route, the distinctive mound at Gold Medal Park is the result of that design strategy. The contaminated soil was piled and sculpted into a large earth mound and capped with topsoil, a spiral path, and a bosque of Amur maple trees.
The park also features around 300 mature trees and twenty custom-designed, handcrafted benches that line the park edges and light up at night with blue LED lights.
Having visited Minneapolis in the fall, the park has an added dimension of color to its palette–the fiery red and orange bosque of maple trees atop the grassy green mound with a blue sky backdrop paints a beautiful picture in downtown Minneapolis. The park is also a popular place for quiet, solitary meditation. Despite the long, winding path up, people would walk all the way up to the top of the mound and take in the view, even if to only stay for a few minutes.