The following article by Steve Brandt was published in the April 20, 2016 edition of the Star Tribune.
Minneapolis Park Board Faces Push for Equity in Park Repairs
On Wednesday, Minneapolis park Superintendent Jayne Miller will unveil a five-year list of upgrades to buildings and grounds in neighborhood parks. Her proposal will rely not just on staff assessments of each park’s repair needs but also neighborhood-level socioeconomic factors.
Shirley Heyer wants upgrades at Peavey Park, where the community has been waiting 15 years for a better rec center. For Minneaplis City Council Member Alondra Cano, it’s getting broken playground equipment fixed faster at Cedar Avenue Field where her kids play. For Jake Virden and David Gilbert-Pederson, it’s more full-court basketball outdoors.
As the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board looks for ways to pay for a long list of fixes, through a referendum or City Hall, a growing group of activists is pushing for more emphasis on parks that serve low-income and minority residents. They have turned up at public hearings and at the board’s annual legislative breakfast, asking for more focus on equity.
On Wednesday, Superintendent Jayne Miller will unveil a five-year list of upgrades to buildings and grounds in neighborhood parks. It’s intended to make tangible what’s at stake if there’s a fall referendum on neighborhood park funding, or barring that, a City Hall decision on boosting money for park repairs.
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