Mississippi River Learning Center to showcase St. Paul as 'the river capital'

Crosby Farm Regional Park's planned year-round attraction might open as early as 2025.

The Mississippi River Learning Center, which is being built for Crosby Farm Regional Park in St. Paul, aims to bring the river back to the forefront of public life.

"St. Paul, like all cities on all rivers, turned its back on the river when it became industrial," said Mary DeLaittre, executive director of the Great River Passage Conservancy.

And, like many other towns throughout the world, we're reorienting our city around the river because we recognize its true value."

The nonprofit Great River Passage Conservancy is in charge of private fundraising and campaigning for three city-led riverfront projects in St. Paul, including the river learning center.

And St. Paul matches the definition, with more waterfront and publicly-owned riverfront than any other city along the Mississippi River's length.

The Crosby Farm complex will also house the National Park Service's headquarters as well as the offices of organizational partners like Wilderness Inquiry.

The team's focus to date, according to Anne Gardner, project manager for the City of St. Paul, has been on engagement with the community and Indigenous leaders.