Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board celebrates revitalized Peavey Park at ribbon cutting with a host of partners

On Friday, May 31, 2019, officials from the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB), Hennepin County, US Bank and several neighborhood organizations held a ribbon-cutting event following a major overhaul of Peavey Park. The key goal of the project is to welcome more people to the park by accommodating more activities.

Highlights of the changes include:

  • Three new full-size lighted basketball courts in the parks northeast corner, which replaced three half-courts
  • Large-scale picnic pavilion
  • New play areas
  • New multi-use field for sports and community gatherings (available for use this fall)
  • Rain-garden plantings to manage stormwater runoff from the courts and elsewhere
  • Paths along the park perimeter
  • Central promenade through the park
  • Grading to improve sightlines

The ribbon-cutting event capped years of efforts to plan, design and fund improvements to the park. “These changes are an amazing testament to the work that this community has committed to this park and to our park system, said MPRB Superintendent Al Bangoura, who recalled a range of memories working with people in the area during his years as part of MPRB’s recreation division.

AK Hassan, who serves as MPRB’s Vice President and Commissioner of District 3, noted his own experience growing up with Peavey Park as his neighborhood park. “To be successful, these parks must reflect the diverse communities who use them. I am proud of the work MPRB is doing to be more responsive to the needs and desires of all communities.”

Hennepin County Commissioner Angela Conley, whose district includes Peavey Park, focused on the benefits of neighborhood parks for children and young people, especially as a counterpart to digital devices and other screens. Investing in parks is “making investments in our youth,” she said, surrounded by dozens of students from nearby Hope Academy, who got a special break on their last day of school to join in the event.

Cecil Smith of the Ventura Village Neighborhood Association put the park improvements in the context of changes to the neighborhood, noting that it used to be filled with bars and open-air drug dealing and a gas station noteworthy as the address for the highest number of police calls for years. “Transformation has been happening in this community for decades. You look at where we are now: we are living that transformation.”

Partnerships crucial to the project’s success

Superintendent Bangoura thanked a host of partners that together provided nearly $300,000 in donations for Peavey Park’s renovation. Among those were US Bank, which donated funds for the park’s new picnic pavilion through its Places to Play program. Kenna Poppler, vice president of Twin Cities community relations at U.S. Bank, described the value of play in how it “connects communities, helps children and adults practice teamwork and boosts creativity.  And most importantly, it brings joy.”

The Ventura Village and Phillips West neighborhood organizations joined with the Franklin Area Business Association and Hope Academy, whose students regularly use the park, to provide funding for sod rather than grass seed on the new field, making it available for play sooner.

Construction on the project’s initial phase began in fall 2017, while the second phase wrapped up this spring. Both phases brought changes specified in MPRB’s master plan for the park, adopted in 2016 and drawing heavily on an earlier plan developed by the Ventura Village neighborhood association and the University of Minnesota’s College of Design.

Peavey among the first park overhauls funded by the 20-Year Neighborhood Park Plan

Funding for the project came from numerous sources, with the largest portion – about $1.7 million of a nearly $2.7 million budget – coming from the Park Board’s 20-Year Neighborhood Park Plan (NPP20).

Adopted in 2016, the same year as Peavey Park’s master plan, NPP20 is the Park Board’s long-term initiative to transform neighborhood parks throughout Minneapolis. It includes a minimum of $11 million annually in additional funding for neighborhood parks, through an agreement with the City of Minneapolis; and an equity-ranking system that targets funding for major investments in the parks and neighborhoods where they’re the most needed.

For instance, in 2017, Peavey Park’s equity ranking was 9 out of 160 neighborhood parks; through 2022, NPP20 is on track to allocate capital investment funding to the 29 parks with the highest equity rankings.

“Overall, NPP20 supports one of the Park Board’s core values,” said Commissioner Hassan, “which is making sure Minneapolis parks are welcoming and inclusive for everyone.”

Thanks to our partners for their investment in and support of Peavey Park.

  • Hennepin County sidewalk grant program
  • Ventura Village Neighborhood Association
  • Phillips West Neighborhood Association
  • U.S. Bank Places to Play grant program
  • Franklin Area Business Association
  • Hope Academy