MINNEAPOLIS — Work on a $6.7 million construction project to restore an island on the Mississippi River in northeast Minneapolis is set to begin next month.

Hall’s Island will get a natural habitat and a 3,000-foot-long channel for kayaking and boating between the island and the river bank, Minnesota Public Radio reported .

“For residents of north and northeast Minneapolis, that’s really important because we don’t have the bodies of water in those sections of the city. People have been cut off from the river,” said Jayne Miller, superintendent of the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board. “So just providing great destination parks and access to water is really important.”

The project aims to improve access to the river and restore the island’s ecosystem, which was damaged by industrial activity, said Stephanie Johnson, of the Mississippi Watershed Management Organization.

“It’s bringing the benefits of nature back into the city, to the residents of north and northeast Minneapolis,” Johnson said. “The benefits of cleaner water, cleaner air, healthier and more diverse plant communities — bringing that all back to the city of Minneapolis.

The island disappeared in 1966 when a lumber business dredged it to accommodate an expansion. The park board purchased the land in 2010 for $7.7 million.

The project will also provide a place for migrating birds to rest and improve the area’s mussel habitat, park board officials said.

Canoeing and kayaking will be available once construction is complete in the spring. The island won’t be open to visitors for a year so plants can grow.


Information from: Minnesota Public Radio News, http://www.mprnews.org