The city of St. Paul has announced the names of four the parks at Highland Bridge development, which is located at the former Ford Site along the Mississippi River.
Names were submitted by the public and selected with feedback from members of the Dakota community and the Saint Paul Youth Commission. The Saint Paul Parks and Recreation Commission was also part of the process.
“The chosen names for these public spaces reflect a myriad of our city’s histories—honoring our Native community to whom this land belongs, our Union sisters and brothers who labored on the site for a century, our city’s interconnectivity with the rest of the region, and a very popular coyote in our neighborhood,” said Ward 3 Council Member Chris Tolbert in a statement.
The final names for the parks are: Gateway Park, Assembly Union Park, Uŋči Makȟa Park (oon-CHEE Ma-KAH) and Míča Park (MEE-cha).
Gateway Park is meant to be a “gateway” to the city, and Assembly Union Park recognizes union labor at the Ford Motor Company, according to the announcement.
Uŋči Makȟa is the Dakota name for Mother Earth, and Míča is an abbreviation for coyote in Dakota.
“We are honored to have been asked to support the Highland Bridge development project by vetting and providing recommendations for the four community parks from an American Indian perspective,” said Maggie Lorenz, executive director of the Lower Phalen Creek Project and Wakan Tipi Center, in a statement.
“Projects like this that create place names that bring visibility, education, and interpretation of Dakota presence in our homelands are important, desired, and necessary to create a more equitable and just city.”
Construction on the new parks will begin later this year. The development also includes 150,000 square feet of retail space, 265,000 square feet of office space and 50,000 square feet of civic/institutional space.