Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Park Playground and Site Improvements
Location: Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Park
Director, Strategic Planning
The Park Board, in cooperation with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Legacy Advisory Council, is implementing park improvements at Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Park in south Minneapolis that will enhance the park and further establish Dr. King’s legacy at the park.
The design phase and community engagement for this project continued through spring/summer of 2014, with construction expected in the spring of 2015. The playground will be closed during construction.
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Anticipated for Fall 2015
- Construction completed
- Grand opening
September 9, 2013
July 12, 2013
February 20, 2013
December 14, 2011
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The MPRB and its partners have initiated the community engagement for this project.
- July 16, 2014 – Public Hearing
*The play equipment designs are reflective of recommendations made at the June 25, 2014 meeting and that MPRB staff will work with the community to determine the final colors for the equipment.
- March 6, 2014
- Community members provided input on playground equipment options and the phasing strategy for the playground. The community indicated a preference for the draft preferred concept plan and a willingness to wait a year for additional fundraising. Through the community meeting, survey in the park and online survey, two play equipment options were strongly supported – play equipment option 1A and 4.
- Summary of Community Input
- Playground Equipment Options
- Six playground manufactures provided playground equipment options. Below you will see descriptions and links to the options. They were also on display at Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr Park. Prior to the meeting individuals could share their preferences for the equipment online or at the park. Information collected was shared at the meeting.
- Playground 1A and 1B Options
- Playground 2 Option
- Playground 3 Option
- Playground 4 Option
- Playground 5 Option
- Playground 6A and 6B Options
- January 2014/ February 2014 – Preferred Concept Survey Concepts
- December 17, 2013 Community Meeting
- October 8, 2013 Community Meeting
- July 30, 2013 Community Meeting and Initial Community Survey
- July 12, 2013
- The MPRB began seeking input from families, youth and the community about a new playground to be built at Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Park. To date, this has included a community survey, site visits, community meeting on July 30 and a community meeting on October 8.
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The park was named Dr. Martin Luther King Park on October 9, 1968 to honor the civil rights leader who was assassinated earlier that year. Until then the park was named Nicollet Field for the street that forms the park’s western boundary.
The park board first designated for acquisition the land that became King Park in 1915. (At the same time, the board designated land for Bottineau Park in northeast Minneapolis.) Just over 21 acres of land were purchased for a little more than $70,000 on March 15, 1916, at which time the new park was named Nicollet Field. The cost of the land was assessed to property in the neighborhood.
A plan for the development of the field was included in the 1916 annual report. That plan included a field house, grandstand, huge wading pool, terrace seating for a baseball field, and twelve tennis courts on the north edge of the park.
A shelter was built in 1924 and the first playground equipment was installed in 1926.
By the early 1960s, the popularity of Nicollet Park designated it for renovation and the addition of a new community center. The funding for those improvements came from an unusual source and at a steep price. In 1962 the Minnesota Department of Transportation paid the park board $372,000 for about 2.6 acres of Nicollet Park that were needed for the construction of I-35W.
At the request of the neighborhood, those funds were applied to the construction of a new recreation center at the park and the renovation of the city-wide tennis center. Both projects were completed in 1968 about the time that the name of the park was changed to honor Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
The recreation center, playing fields and playgrounds were all updated and a gym was added to the center in 1992. Most recently, the playing fields were upgraded and new tennis courts were constructed in 2002.
The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board's 5-year capital improvement program includes $225,000 for the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr Park playground.
To donate, please contact People for Parks.
Park History, page 156
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