The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) invites city residents and park visitors of all ages to attend one of six town meetings to be held throughout the city in September. The town meetings kick off the Park Board’s efforts to gather information from the community as the MPRB develops its long-term comprehensive plan for the park system.
The MPRB wants to know what the community values about the park system, what it sees as the park system’s strengths, and how the MPRB can best serve the public’s park and recreation needs. The information gathered at the town meetings, along with information gathered from questionnaires, focus groups, a phone survey and community leader workshops, will guide the development of the comprehensive plan.
The six town meetings are scheduled as follows:
11 a.m. – 1 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 16
Folwell Park Community Center, 1615 Dowling Ave. N.
6:30 – 8:30 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 19
Van Cleve Park Community Center, 901 15th Ave. SE
6:30 – 8:30 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 21
Powderhorn Park Community Center, 3400 15th Ave. S.
11 a.m. – 1 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 23
Lynnhurst Park Community Center, 1345 W. Minnehaha Pkwy
6:30 – 8:30 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 26
Whittier Park Community Center, 425 W. 26th Street
11 a.m. – 1 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 30
Nokomis Park Community Center, 2401 E. Minnehaha Pkwy
Children and teens are also invited to the town meetings. MPRB staff will provide fun, engaging, age-appropriate activities designed to capture kids’ thoughts and ideas about today’s and future parks.
Community members and park visitors are also encouraged to complete a brief MPRB questionnaire. The questionnaire will be available online at http://www.minneapolisparks.org and at all 49 MPRB recreation centers from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15. In early September, all Minneapolis households will be mailed an informational map about the park system that features the questionnaire and town meeting dates.
In order to tap into the broadest spectrum of community perspectives, the MPRB will conduct focus groups once the town meetings have concluded. These will include a wide variety of groups, particularly those that experience language, cultural, or physical barriers to traditional community participation formats. In addition, the nine Park Board Commissioners will each appoint three people to participate in a series of community leader workshops this fall. Residents interested in being considered for an appointment to the community leader group may submit an application by August 16. Applications are available at http://www.minneapolisparks.org or by calling 612-230-6400.
The common themes identified through the questionnaires and at the meetings, focus groups and workshops will form the basis for questions to be asked in a residential phone survey scheduled for November.
Minneapolis parks serve more than 15 million visitors each year, so it’s no secret that Minneapolis residents love their parks. Understanding why Minneapolitans love their parks will help the MPRB build on success. The Minneapolis park system enjoys a national reputation as one of the finest park systems in the country. This is the result of the visionary leadership, thoughtful planning, and public support it has received throughout its 123-year history. In recent decades, much of what has been accomplished has been driven by findings of a 1965 comprehensive analysis of the park system known as The Brightbill Study. Today, the city is much different than in 1965. Communities are far more racially diverse, technology has exploded, new sports have gained prominence, public expectations have changed, and the funding climate has grown more challenging.
The comprehensive plan, scheduled to be completed by late 2007, will be grounded in the needs of the community. It will define priorities for the allocation of resources and delivery of services to create a park system alert to the needs of the community and integral to a thriving city. In laying the groundwork for the plan, MPRB staff has been inventorying infrastructure and services, assessing sustainability practices, and studying the city’s demographics. Now it is time to hear from city residents and park users.
For a recorded message about public input opportunities, call the Comp Plan hotline at 612-230-6597. To learn more about the comprehensive plan, find out about opportunities to participate, or fill out an online questionnaire (beginning mid-September) go to the MPRB website at http://www.minneapolisparks.org.