Riverfront Enhancement Action Plan

Guiding implementation and future design work

The Riverfront Enhancement Action Plan is a framework to guide improvements along the river and future design of park spaces.  It is intended to create enthusiasm and identify actions necessary to further enhance Northfield’s riverfront parks into an exciting regional experience. While some actions can be implemented in the next few years, many will be longer term and may require incremental steps to complete.

Engaging with property owners and key users before advancing major improvements is important to facilitate successful implementation, and will be part of future actions. There will be opportunities to further explore how to implement the vision and to expand more year-round activity. The action plan is not a construction plan document and not a final design approval for park improvements.

Council Approved Sequence Chart

Council Approved Motion

Read the Riverfront Action Plan (PDF)

Early years (1-5+)

The action plan identifies steps necessary to move toward the greater vision of a regional park destination. In the early years of implementation, those steps will likely include:


Ames Park and Bridge Square emerge as early priorities for park improvements. While Ames Park will require additional design, coordination with the adjacent property owners and identifying alternate design options to accommodate the Defeat of Jesse James Days carnival event or secure a desirable alternate location, Bridge Square improvements to expand pedestrian spaces could advance to implementation more quickly.

Regional Designation and Technical Studies

Additional early effort will be necessary to pursue a regional park designation, identify and pursue potential funding streams, develop partnerships, evaluate flood related issues and study  potential alternate designs for the dam.


Improving how structures relate to the river and aesthetics along and adjacent to the river will be incremental and can start early. This might include cleaning up the riverbank, addressing aesthetics and considering artwork and lighting.


Steps may include enhancing connections to the River by improving public spaces that connect to the commercial district, eliminating gaps in sidewalks and trails, and pursuing design solutions to create a series of pedestrian loops that extend to both sides of the River and connect to the urban historic core of the community.

Way Finding

Developing a way finding plan and design approach for signs and kiosks, securing funding and implementing.

Overview materials

River Districts Handout (PDF)

Intro Overview Handout (PDF)

Poster (PDF)

Project Descriptions (PDF)

Supporting resources

Process Summary (PDF)

Wild and Scenic River Regulatory Impact on Cannon Riverfront Enhancement Activities in Northfield (PDF)

REAC scores for all non-park suggestions (PDF)

Original River District Maps (PDF)

Updated River District Maps (PDF)

Potential Grant Funding Sources (PDF)

National Park Service Phase 1 recommendation (PDF)

Related documents