MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) † A park in north Minneapolis will undergo a $21 million dollar redevelopment.
In his State of the City address last week, Mayor Jacob Frey announced the city’s proposal to invest $3 million in the North Commons Park renovation project. That funding, if approved by the city council, will come from the remaining American Rescue Act Funds.
It is a sprawling green space in the heart of northern Minneapolis. North Commons Park has been a fixture in the community for decades and is in the process of being revamped.
“I think an investment of this magnitude in this community will be transformative,” said Adam Arvidson, director of strategic planning for Minneapolis Parks and Recreation.
It is a more than $20 million dollar improvement project that will transform the landscape of one of the city’s largest neighborhood parks. Phase one includes the construction of a new leisure center and water park. The park board has secured more than $8 million dollars in funding to date, with additional requests to the city and state.
“This is about the real need and desire that this community on the north side has for high-quality, high-service facilities, something that many believe has not been met for a long time,” Arvidson says.
While many in the community welcome the project, some believe that city, state and federal investment would be better spent reviving the West Broadway Avenue business corridor.
“I love North Commons, but there are plenty of other things that with those millions of dollars will bring instant change to this community,” says KB Brown.
Brown has a print shop on West Broadway. Brown says, “Play centers don’t stop kids from doing things, money does.”
In a community ravaged by decades of divestments, he says the focus should be on economic development.
“There are other things to invest in. There are plenty of city and county properties up and down Broadway in north Minneapolis that residents can occupy, that we can build something on so that we can actually have some property.. .. Right now we are 80% tenants,” says Brown.
From North Commons Park to the proposed Blue Line Lightrail extension, Brown’s views are part of an ongoing discussion about the future of the North Side. “We’d like to have some property in our community so we can stay here so we can have a home,” Brown says.
Construction on North Commons Park is expected to begin next year. A number of community meetings about the project are expected to take place in the coming months.