Updated: June 22, 2021 10:11 PM
Created: June 22, 2021 09:51 PM
Amid rising violent crime rates in the Twin Cities, Minneapolis city leaders are exploring new ways to keep kids busy and out of trouble.
In a meeting on Wednesday, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board voted to spend $300,000 out of a $1.7 million budget surplus this summer to bolster its Street Reach and Teen Teamworks programs. The board also voted to eliminate fees at the North Commons Water Park for 2021.
Park Board Commissioner Londel French proposed both resolutions and gave a passionate plea to his colleagues to approve his proposals.
“We are in a crisis and we are in an emergency, and I don’t think this board is taking it seriously,” he said. “And now you want to sit here and talk about how we cannot spend this money and how it might be inappropriate right now. Spend the money.”
French said the rising violence among teens on the city’s north side is a “crisis” and the added revenues could help curb some of that criminal activity.
“We got people out here dying, babies drowning and $300,000 isn’t anything in the grand scheme of things,” French said. “And $38,000 to let kids go swimming in our pool is nothing. And this is why our country is where it's at right now — because the money goes to the people who already got the money. Stop it, right now.”
Park Board Commissioner Kale Severson supported French’s proposals.
“I want to thank Commissioner French for trying to get money spent in north Minneapolis to address these issues because we literally have babies dying,” Severson said. “It really sucks that people want to make this political as opposed to finding solutions so we don’t have children dying.”
The board’s approval of eliminating fees at the North Commons Water Park this summer and the extra $300,000 for those two youth programs is effective immediately.
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