The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) is renovating the two playgrounds in Minnehaha Regional Park. Construction is expected to be complete in July 2014. Please subscribe for e-mail updates for the grand opening announcement.
Two distinct approaches are planned for the playgrounds. Wabun Picnic Area, will become the first universal access playground in the Minneapolis Park system. The second playground, near the band shell and refectory in the North Plateau Area is a historic playground with pieces from as early as 1906 (swings) through the 1950s; the approach for this area will be to preserve the historic nature of this playground and sensitively add new equipment to increase the play activities.
Funding is made possible from many grants and donations received by a volunteer group, Falls 4 All, a committee of People for Parks, who have been working to raise funds to enhance the accessibility of the Wabun playground since 2010. MPRB Capital Improvement Funds from the Parks and Trails Fund of the Legacy Amendment, along with grants and donations from the Hennepin County Youth Sports Program, the Paul Adelman Children with Disabilities Endowment Fund, the Craig H Neilson Foundation, People for Parks, the Carolyn Foundation, and the Innovating Worthy Projects Foundation and many others have been received. A full list of donors is below. MPRB is extremely appreciative of all of these contributors who are helping to make inclusive play a priority at this playground.
Park staff in partnership with the community and other stakeholders created playground schematic designs during the winter of 2012 - 2013. The resulting concept design was approved by the Board on February 6, 2013. Construction began in September 2013 and will be completed in summer 2014. Construction was delayed by weather last fall and this spring. Picnic facility rentals during construction times will be informed of playground construction and closures.
The playgrounds will be closed and unavailable for use during construction. The grand opening is planned for July 31, 2014. Playgrounds will be open once they are completed.
July 31, 2014: The Wabun playground opens today! As soon as construction workers and all of their tools and materalis are off site the playground will be ready to use. The grand opening will occur at 4:30 p.m., Thursday July 31st.
The North Plateau will also have a ribbon cutting the same day at 4:00 pm. The North Plateau has been open since June 13th and is very heavily used!
Small repairs, corrections and follow up work may occur at both playgrounds in the future. Please watch for work occurring and stay out of work areas.
Care and watering of the newly placed sod will occur for several weeks. Please stay out of sprinklers watering new sod.
PLEASE help the new sod grow, please avoid walking on it!
June, 10, 2014: Construction Update: Despite an extremely wet spring, which has caused several weeks of delay, completion of the playgrounds is in sight! The North Plateau Playground will be opened the week of June 16. Wabun Playground is unfortunately farther behind schedule and is scheduled to re-open July 25. The grand opening for both playgrounds is being planned for Thursday, July 31.
May, 19, 2014: Construction Update: The construction of the playgrounds at Minnehaha has resumed. This spring, completion of the installation of the equipment at Wabun and installation of accessible rubber safety surfacing at both sites is expected to be completed in late June, 2014.
May 1, 2013: Falls4All Committee Receives Volunteer of the Year Award
The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) recognized the Falls4All committee for outstanding volunteer work in 2012 at the May 1 Board of Commissioners meeting. The Volunteer of the Year Awards recognize the invaluable contributions made by individuals and volunteer groups and signify the importance of every volunteer to the success of the MPRB.
Falls 4 All is a committee of People for Parks headed by Peggy Halvorson, committee chair, that has raised approximately $450,000 to fund a universal access playground in the Wabun Picnic Area of Minnehaha Park. Read More
January 2, 2013: Minnehaha Family Play Areas Concepts and Public Hearing; Plans recommended for full board approval on January 16, 2013
This historic 1930s playground will be evaluated for safety according to current standards and rehabilitated to the extent possible. Additional play elements will be added, and accessibility improvements made, to complement the new and existing equipment in this play area.
With the support of Falls 4 All, an all-volunteer organization that has joined with the MPRB, and People for Parks, the new playground planned for Wabun Picnic area will be “universally accessible,” which means that at least 70% of the play features will be accessible, far more than required by the American Disabilities Act (ADA). It will be a playground where children and adults, with or without disabilities, can challenge themselves to explore, interact and play with independence and dignity.
While all new playgrounds planned in the Minneapolis park system meet the requirements of the (ADA), these requirements are a minimum level of accessibility and do not typically include access via ramps onto a play structure and have a small percentage of required accessible play elements. Playgrounds that have “universal access” include many more opportunities for play, and can include multiple ramps, more accessible surfacing, and multiple paths to play within a structure, all of which foster interaction and allow all children to be included in play. These playgrounds are far more expensive than those meeting the minimum ADA requirements. All funds raised by Falls 4 All will be used to increase the playground’s accessibility above ADA standards. Fundraising for the accessibility enhancements to the Wabun playground is underway and will continue as the design is developed.
The current Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) capital improvement program includes funding in the amount of $600,000 for the renovation of the two family play areas in Minnehaha Park in 2012-13. The funding is from the Parks and Trails Fund of the Clean Water Land and Legacy Amendment, approved by voters in 2008.
The volunteer group Falls 4 All has been fundraising since the Board of Commissioners authorized them to raise funds in September 2010. Their funds will be targeted for increasing the accessibility of the Wabun Playground with the goal of achieving Universal Access standards.
Donors are to be recognized according to the linked donor categories.
The Board of Commissioners approved the play area concepts on February 6, 2013. The concepts were revised slightly after the feedback from advisory groups the public and commissioners was received on and before the final open house in December 2012. The Wabun concept will follow the looping site design (concept A) and will have an expanded age 2-5 play area with ramp access. The North Plateau play area has been modified to more carefully avoid a large oak tree nearby which resulted in dividing the sand play into two areas. Final concept plans are linked below.
The first Public Open House was held on October 24, 2012. Initial site concepts and play equipment proposals were shown for public review and comments. Staff has also presented these concepts to a Staff Advisory and Technical Advisory Groups and to school children participants of Rec Plus at Hiawatha School Park.
An online survey to comment on the concepts was open through November 9, 2012.
Concept boards, playground themes and playground equipment boards can be seen at the following links:
After feedback was reviewed, a playground manufacturer was selected for each site and design refinements began. A second round of review and comments including a second Public Open House was completed prior to bringing the concept plan to the board for approval in January 2013.
Opportunities for community members to share ideas for, and comments about, the new playgrounds were offered in multiple ways during the design process; including open houses, surveys and through general comment via the website. To receive meeting notifications and other project updates by email, click on the red envelope icon above.
Many improvements have been made to Minnehaha Regional Park since the Minnehaha Park Renovation Plan was completed in 1992. Most recently completed improvements include bank stabilization and re-vegetation along the creek in the Lower Glen; a reconfiguration of the Wabun Picnic Area that includes new picnic shelters, wading pool, restroom building, trails, state-of-the-art parking lots, and maintenance building. Playground replacement will be the last major investment in the park which is included in the master plan.