Minneapolis Hopes to Curb Crime with Pop-Up Parks

Updated: 06/16/2014 10:53 PM
Created: 06/16/2014 6:19 PM
By: Naomi Pescovitz

There have been 11 homicides this year in Minneapolis, including one this weekend on the north side. Now, the city has a new plan to help curb violent crime, especially in North Minneapolis.

Six days a week from 4 to 9 p.m., the city will host "Pop Up Parks" in different locations around the city. They will offer music, games, athletics and free food.

"They'll be distributed throughout the City of Minneapolis in vacant lots, on streets, and block party style, and then at parks that don't actually have buildings," said Sasha Cotton, Minneapolis Youth Violence Prevention Coordinator.

The first pop-up park was scheduled for Monday afternoon at Penn and Golden Valley Road, considered a hot spot for crime. However, the event was canceled after about 30 minutes because of severe weather.

Cotton says the goal is to appeal to older youth, ages 12 to 17.

"What's unique about these parks is that they do actually tailor the activities to older youth so we wanted to make sure that we did something separate from the playgrounds and the typical activity that you see for younger kids," Cotton said.

Organizers say they plan to reach high-risk youth through recruitment.

"Our street outreach team with the parks department will be very strategic in how they go out and market to kids. They'll be actually pulling kids into the parks before they start," Cotton said.

The pop-up parks are paid for through federal funding. They will run Monday through Saturday for eight weeks.

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