A redesign of the crowded Currie Park in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood is one of the most ambitious park repairs proposed by Minneapolis Park Superintendent Jayne Miller on Wednesday.
Miller released the list to show how the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board would spend $40 million over the next five years if it can get it from City Hall or from voters in a referendum. Her proposal was developed using new criteria that considered socioeconomic factors around neighborhood parks, and concentrates initial repairs in areas with higher poverty and more minority residents.
Much of the money would be spent on rehabbing rec centers with new roofs or mechanical systems. But work to repair or replace playgrounds, wading pools, sports fields and other more visible features at parks would be tightly concentrated in inner-city neighborhoods.
Much of the most visible work would be in parks in north and south-central Minneapolis. One example is the $2.8 million major redesign of Currie Park in 2019. In other cases, projects already planned would be expanded.
For instance, Peavey Park, already set for a playground replacement next year, would get an extra $1 million in 2018 for major park renovation, something some residents have sought for 15 years.
But in 2017, the first year of the new funding, the money would go toward work at five parks. The pool at Phillips Community Center would get the $1 million needed to complete financing to renovate the pool, locker rooms and spectator area. Other projects would range from $1 million for court and field improvements at Painter Park to $80,000 to expand playground and path renovations at Bassett Creek Park.
None of the recommended facility repairs or replacements are for parks outside defined zones of concentrated poverty where at least half of the residents are minorities. And none of the 20 projects Miller proposed are on the city’s East Side, where the funding gap for parks is highest but only one small area meets equity criteria.
Miller’s recommendations hinge on $160 million in new 20-year park capital funding contained in a proposal by two City Council members, which also offers $60 million in increased operating funds. Negotiations continue at City Hall and those involved hope to have a compromise proposal for Monday’s City Council Ways and Means Committee meeting.