Mpls. City Council Member has Plan to Pay for New City Park, 'The Yard'

Updated: 08/17/2014 10:33 PM
Created: 08/17/2014 10:23 PM
By: Jay Kolls

The city of Minneapolis owns the rights to a new, downtown park and now must come up with ways to pay for it and a city council member has an idea on how to do it.

The park, which is called "The Yard", is a nine-acre, two-block stretch between the new Vikings' stadium and Minneapolis City Hall. Last week, the Minneapolis Park Board pulled out of the project and announced it had no interest in owning, or maintaining the park. So, now city council member Jacob Frey, who represents the area where "The Yard" will be located, has come up an idea for managing and paying for the park.

Frey says a conservancy board is being picked right now to oversee and manage "The Yard." Frey says it "will probably consist of business leaders, city council members, park board members and citizens."

The job of the conservancy board will be to operate and maintain the new park, but it will take millions of dollars to build the park between now and when the Vikings' stadium opens in 2016. Frey says he would like to see a combination of funding mechanisms to come up with the $10 to $15-million (early estimates) to finish the job.

Frey would like to sell the air space rights above a city-operated parking ramp near the new stadium and right next to "The Yard." Frey says using money from that sale could be used toward the new park. He would also like the Vikings, Ryan Companies and Wells Fargo to kick in some of their own money since "they will benefit directly from the park's proximity", according to Frey.

Finally, Frey says, there will need to be some strong fundraising efforts made to make sure there is enough money to cover all of the park's new costs.

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