The Michael P. Schmidt Center is nestled onto the Eastern bank of the Mississippi River, a relic of a former industrial corridor within the rapidly growing Northeast arts neighborhood. The 5-acre site boasts expansive views of the river framed by large Cottonwood trees, contrasted by a red brick warehouse building and underutilized parking lot. The site itself is owned by the Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board and is a unique opportunity for remediation and easily accessible neighborhood engagement.
The overall concept uses beautiful and functional materials to reflect the Mississippi River ecology and respond to the industrial heritage of the site. Poplars and native grasses are specified for their ability to remove pollutants from soils, while demolition debris from the building is reused or left exposed for educational purposes. Educational signage created in conjunction with the University of Minnesota diagrams and narrates the performative environmental processes on site from phytoremediation to stormwater biofiltration. This also serves to highlight the industrial heritage of the area in comparison with the Mississippi River’s significant economic, ecological, and cultural relevance. The entire site experience offers a destination for educational tours in order to foster a comprehensive and engaging learning experience for the visitors and community at large.