Two of Highland Bridge development’s four parks get Dakota names

St. Paul officials have settled on names for the four new city parks being created as part of the Highland Bridge development at the former site of the Ford Motor Co. plant.

The names, which were approved by the City Council at its Wednesday meeting, were selected after the officials solicited suggestions from residents, according to a news release issued by the St. Paul Parks and Recreation Department.

The large park on the northwest corner of the development will be Gateway Park because it’s an “important entry point to the city and the the Highland Bridge development,” the news release said.

A second large park on the south end of the development will be Assembly Union Park, in a nod to the Highland Park site’s history as a unionized automobile factory.

The two smaller parks — one in the interior of the development and the other to the southeast — were given Dakota names after consultation with area Native American groups.

Uŋči Makȟa Park (pronounced oon-CHEE Ma-KAH) translates to Mother Earth, while Míča Park (pronounced MEE-cha) is short for coyote, the news release said.

The final names were chosen by city officials after receiving feedback from members of the local Dakota community and the St. Paul Youth Commission.

The Minneapolis-based Ryan Companies is redeveloping the 122-acre Ford site into a mix of residential, commercial and community uses.

Over the next 10 to 20 years, Highland Bridge is expected to span 3,800 housing units, 150,000 square feet of retail space, 265,000 square feet of office space and 50,000 square feet of civic or institutional space.

There also will be more than 55 acres of public and open space, including the new parks and 10 bike and pedestrian paths totaling five miles. Two little league fields on the site were donated to the Friends of Highland Ball in May.

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