Mpls. Park Board Likely Won't Run New 'People's Park'

Updated: 06/10/2014 7:12 AM
Created: 06/09/2014 7:14 PM
By: Jay Kolls

The new park, called "The Yard" is designed to be the so-called crown jewel of all Minneapolis parks, but it will likely not be run by the Minneapolis Park Board. 

Mayor Betsy Hodges says she supports an emerging consensus at City Hall that a conservancy would be the best option to operate the new park, which will sit on two city blocks next to the new Vikings' stadium and the new Downtown East retail, restaurant and residential development.

It will be owned by the Minneapolis Parks Board, but the proposed conservancy idea would give control of the day-to-day park operation and maintenance to a group of politicians, Park Board members and business leaders which could include the Vikings and Ryan Companies development firm.

Minneapolis City Councilmember Jacob Frey represents the downtown area where the new park will be located. He says this park will be different from traditional city parks and it will need fundraising, marketing and planning to help raise money.

Frey says that is not the expertise of the Park Board. But, Frey says it will still be a park "open to the public" and he will make sure the number of days the park is partially closed for private events are limited. 

If the Park Board does not operate the new park, it would be the first time since 1883 that the public has purchased a park, but yet not operated by the Park Board.

The Park Board reserved comment on the issue until a final decision is made. The non-profit group, "Park Watch", tells 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS it does not like the conservancy idea.

Its co-founder, Arlene Fried, says it is just another way to allow corporations in the back door of running a public park. Fried says the Vikings and Ryan Companies have the most to gain from the public park and does not think having those to private entities on the proposed conservancy group is in the best interest of taxpayers, or the public.

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