Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board to unveil criteria and proposed implementation plan for anticipated increased funding for neighborhood parks

On April 20 Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) staff will present criteria and a proposed rehabilitation and capital investment implementation plan for the first five years to ensure, if additional funding becomes available for neighborhood parks, investments will be made equitably within the neighborhood park system. The presentation will be made during the April 20 Board meeting, which begins at 5 pm at MPRB Headquarters, 2117 West River Road, Minneapolis.

Specific, quantifiable criteria will be used to determine where future rehabilitation and capital project funding is allocated throughout Minneapolis’ neighborhood park system.  The criteria fall in two categories:  community characteristics and park characteristics. Community characteristics include neighborhood demographic data such as identified racially concentrated areas of poverty, population density, youth population and crime statistics. Park characteristics include park asset data like asset condition, asset lifespan and proportionality of investment (the amount of capital funding spent to date on a neighborhood park’s assets in proportion to the total value of the funding originally invested to create the assets in that park).

The proposed implementation plan will specify the first five years of recommended rehabilitation and capital projects if additional neighborhood park funding becomes available.  During the April 20 presentation, MPRB staff will share results of park ratings, based on the criteria that were developed with feedback from representatives of organizations whose work is focused on racial equity.

Over the past five years, the MPRB has launched a variety of diversity, cultural awareness and racial equity initiatives. Today the MPRB sent a letter to City Council Members [PDF] that outlines the process being used to identify neighborhood park priorities in response to equity concerns raised during the public hearing for the 20 Year Neighborhood Park Plan held April 13 at City Hall.  The letter also highlights many of the equity initiatives the MPRB has launched and acknowledges the need to continue work on racial equity as an organization.  

The MPRB believes addressing the need for dedicated, increased neighborhood parks funding is critical to addressing racial equity across Minneapolis. The MPRB is working with the City of Minneapolis on a 20 Year Neighborhood Park Plan that would address funding for neighborhood parks through adoption of concurrent ordinances by the City and Park Board this spring. Until negotiations with the City are resolved, the MPRB will concurrently work with the Minneapolis Charter Commission to consider a charter amendment on the ballot this fall that would also provide 20 years of funding for neighborhood parks.

An independent, citizen-led group called Save Our Minneapolis Parks is also preparing for a petition drive to put either a charter amendment or referendum on the ballot this fall to provide increased funding for neighborhood parks. However, the MPRB and citizen-led efforts will cease if concurrent ordinances are approved by the City and MPRB this spring.

Please visit www.minneapolisparks.org/closingthegap for more information on the funding shortfall facing Minneapolis neighborhood parks and enter your email address into the box under “Subscribe to Email Updates” to stay informed on this issue.