The Brainerd Riverfront Committee has developed a design concept for a riverfront park and trailhead and now seeks input from the community.

The goal of Mississippi Landing, the proposed name, is transform the downtown riverfront into a gathering place where residents and visitors can easily access and enjoy the Mississippi River.

The park will be along East River Road on the hillside below the North Star Apartments, near the high school baseball fields.

“We are bringing the two most important parts of the city together: the river and the people,” Don Gorham, co-chair of the Brainerd Riverfront Committee, stated in a news release. “This is about both community and economic development. We hope to make Brainerd a better place to live and work, and make the Mississippi River more accessible and enjoyable.”

The city of Brainerd was selected in 2019 by the National Park Service River, Trails, and Conservation Assistance program to assist in the design and layout of the park. The riverfront committee worked with National Parks Service staff to brainstorm ideas and bring a draft concept plan to life. Printed copies of the draft concept plan will be displayed around town on community bulletin boards, at Central Lakes College and at the Brainerd Family YMCA through the survey period.

Newsletter signup for email alerts

The plan currently includes a hillside amphitheater and stage, which could be used as a site for the Lakes Area Music Festival and other community performances; a wide promenade that could accommodate a variety of vendors; several river overlooks; a canoe/kayak launch; an outdoor classroom and a small children’s play area. Mississippi Landing will eventually connect to all regional bike trails and be a central point in creating a more walkable and bikeable city.

Mississippi Landing Trailhead will replace the old parking lot in that area, which is problematic for stormwater management. Diagonal parking will be added along East River Road. The design concept also includes several rain gardens to help with stormwater management.

The Riverfront Committee now seeks community input on the draft concept plan. The survey is available at or on the Brainerd Riverfront Facebook page. Community members are invited to take the survey and offer input on the design concept through Nov. 4.