Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board passes 20 Year Neighborhood Park Plan

At its May 18, 2016 meeting, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MRPB) of Commissioners approved the 20 Year Neighborhood Park Plan ordinance, which ensures an additional $11 million in annual funding to the MPRB to revitalize Minneapolis’ renowned network of neighborhood parks.

“We are sincerely thankful for everyone’s work on this historic agreement, including Superintendent Miller, Mayor Hodges, staff from the MPRB and City of Minneapolis, the Save Our Minneapolis Parks group, and especially city residents who have been voicing their support for increased neighborhood park funding,” said Liz Wielinski, MPRB Board President. “This is an extraordinary moment in Minneapolis park history. I am excited to see Minneapolis’ neighborhood parks revitalized to serve a new, more diverse generation of park users.”

The MPRB worked closely with the City of Minneapolis to pass concurrent ordinances ensuring the essential long-term investment in neighborhood parks. The City’s ordinance, which passed on April 29, also included provisions to increase funding to repair city streets.

Next, another MPRB ordinance will be introduced in June to ensure the new investments in neighborhood parks will be done equitably. On April 20 MPRB staff presented criteria and a proposed rehabilitation and capital investment implementation plan for the first five outlining this racial and economic equity plan. The April 20 presentation materials, which are available at www.minneapolisparks.org/closingthegap, included the following key documents:



“Criteria Based System for MPRB Capital and Rehabilitation Project Scheduling” explains how 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 since 2000 relative to the total value of park assets. The criteria were developed with feedback from representatives of local organizations that focus on racial equity.

 “Criteria Matrix” shows how each neighborhood park was rated based on the racial and economic equity criteria.

“Proposed Expanded MPRB CIP for Neighborhood Parks” is a spreadsheet outlining MPRB staff’s recommended rehabilitation and capital projects for the first five years. Staff stressed that proposed funding is specific to each park and would remain allocated to that park, not disappear, if the community determines a different site improvement other than the improvement staff recommends on the spreadsheet. As with all of its current park projects, community engagement and input will be critical when making future park improvements.

 In addition to the capital improvements, the 20 Year Neighborhood Park Plan includes annual funding for increased rehabilitation and maintenance of neighborhood parks throughout the city.  System-wide rehabilitation will focus on ADA improvements, building repairs, roof and sidewalks, park lighting, HVAC systems, below-grade infrastructure and maintenance facilities, with repairs at multiple sites throughout the city every season.  System-wide maintenance focuses on improving the service levels of mowing, tree pruning, roof inspections, seasonal plumbing start up and shut down, and maintenance of playgrounds, buildings, sidewalks, parking lots, gardens and natural areas.    

The MPRB believes addressing the need for dedicated, increased neighborhood parks funding is critical to addressing racial equity across Minneapolis.  

“These ordinances will be significantly influential for the Park Board, the City and residents of Minneapolis,” said Jayne Miller, MPRB Superintendent.  “This will provide 20 years of maintenance, rehabilitation and capital funding for our neighborhood parks. We’re proud that this critical plan to revitalize Minneapolis’ neighborhood parks will be implemented using a criteria-based system to ensure investments address racial and economic equity.”