In the past, maintenance crews from the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) have mowed 2,750 acres of grass in 160 neighborhood parks every 14 days. Thanks to the 20-Year Neighborhood Park Plan (NPP20), they're trimming all of that turf more often this summer: The goal is to cut back the average mowing cycle to 12 days in 2017, and shear off another two days by the end of the 2018 growing season.
Why mow more frequently? It makes the turf in neighborhood parks better for running and playing, and more visually appealing, to boot. Cutting shorter lengths of grass with each mowing encourages vigorous growth and discourages weeds, while reducing diseases and other stresses that can occur when grass grows too long.
It's a similar story the 50,000 parkland trees that MPRB cares for. Pruning young trees more often helps them develop a solid structure as they mature, so they can resist damage from storms and diseases. Careful pruning has become more important in recent years, due to many new trees replacing mature trees lost to the emerald ash borer (EAB) infestation. It's also particularly critical for all trees in neighborhood parks, to maintain visibility and keep branches from obstructing paths or damaging buildings.
In all, increased mowing and tree pruning is a win-win for the neighborhood parks—and for the people who love them. NPP20 allows MPRB to implement increases to a range of other maintenance categories, including inspections and repairs for playgrounds; roofs at recreation centers and other park buildings; and heating, ventilation and cooling (HVAC) systems. Find out more about NPP20 below.
Another type of park care funded by NPP20 involves replacing damaged segments of sidewalks around the perimeter of neighborhood parks throughout Minneapolis. The first round of replacements will take place at the 15 parks listed below. This project will begin August 7 and run through September 30, with crews working under a contract managed by the City of Minneapolis. Additional projects to deal with damaged sidewalks and a host of other repair and replacement needs will be announced as they are scheduled.
North Minneapolis parks
Bethune, Folwell, Willard
Northeast/Southeast Minneapolis parks
Logan, Waite, Windom Northeast
South Minneapolis parks
East Phillips, Franklin Steele, Hiawatha School, Longfellow, Powderhorn
Southwest Minneapolis parks
Fuller, Lyndale Farmstead, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Washburn Fair Oaks
Note: Where needed along the streets at these locations, installation of accessible pedestrian ramps is to be coordinated with the city as a separate project. This ensures accessibility for all the crosswalks at an intersection.
The park care above and more than a dozen other types of increased maintenance, repairs and replacements are part of NPP20, a a historic agreement between MPRB and the City of Minneapolis that was approved in 2016.
After decades of under-funding, NPP20 provides $11 million in additional park funding annually, through 2036, that allows MPRB to: