The following commentary item by Mark Andrew and Carol Becker was published in the April 23, 2016 edition of the Star Tribune.
Minneapolis Park Funding: Take the 20-Year City Hall Plan
Nothing less will do to properly repair and refurbish our signature green spaces.
Our city’s parks are the most important asset of Minneapolis. They bring our city high-quality neighborhoods, robust property values, healthful recreation, stable businesses and civic pride. Parks and lakes are our city’s national brand.
In the 1960s, under the leadership of Superintendent Robert Ruhe, Minneapolis neighborhood parks burst into full blossom with new swimming pools, tot lots, ball fields, tennis courts and recreation centers in the 160 park properties that had largely laid dormant. The truth, though, is that those investments — made half a century ago — have exceeded their useful life.
Our city’s policymakers all agree that neighborhood parks are in a funding crisis. They face a backlog of deferred maintenance that already exceeds $110 million. Our recreation center roofs leak; our playgrounds are rusting. In virtually every neighborhood park the need for repairs is evident.
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