Minneapolis park board votes to limit tents in Powderhorn Park, ensure encampments conform to school safe zone laws
Following their Wednesday night meeting, the Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board passed resolution 2020-267 which included amendments that will require staff analysis of park site encampments to make sure they conform to state law regarding the proximity of encampments near school zones and safe school zones.
"Resolved, MPRB directs staff to analyze parks for their capacity to support encampments while preserving safe and comfortable access to recreation features for park visitors, and to conform to state law regarding the proximity of encampments near school zones and not locate encampment near safe school zones, and communicate publicly those parks so designated as capable of accommodating encampments (Refuge Sites),” the amendment reads.
In the same resolution, there was an amendment that removed language that allowed Powderhorn Park to have in excess of 25 tents. The language that was removed said:
“Resolved, Given its size and history the Board of Commissioners grants special permission for the Powderhorn Park encampments and seeks necessary partners who can obtain permits that will be exempt from the foregoing size limits with the desire to immediately limit the current size of the encampment and to develop a plan that will reduce the current number of people and tents significantly over a three-week time period based on the approval date of this resolution.”
With the removal of that language, Powderhorn Park will now be treated like all other parks which allow up to 25 tents.
The following is a previous story of the meeting agenda.
The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board is taking up the topics of homeless encampments and its nudity ordinance during its meeting Wednesday.
The board is expected to vote on limiting which 20 parks in the city the homeless can stay in, and limiting those camps to 25 tents.
As of last Thursday, camps could be found in 38 parks in the city and Powderhorn Park alone has about 560 tents.
"The park board is not in the business of housing, we’re way outside of our wheelhouse with housing folks in the park — I hope tonight we get some clarity on how to move forward on limiting the amount of people who are unhoused in our parks," said LaTrisha Vetaw, Board Commissioner.
Last month, the board voted to allow those camps.
"It was great of the park board to make a decision to allow the sanctuary in the parks at the time, but we know now, I personally can not handle this — it’s hard for me to go to Powderhorn," Vetaw said.
The board is also expected to vote Wednesday on repealing its nudity ordinance.
Commissioner Chris Meyer wrote in a Facebook post that the main goal is to get rid of what he calls discriminatory language targeting female breasts.
He said the ordinance specifically applies to breasts in that it allows men to be topless in city parks but not women.
He says elsewhere in Minneapolis, women and transgender people can be topless in public, but in city parks, some are cited for it.