In this redesign plan for Peavey Plaza, the fountain is gone, but the plaza remains below street grade.

City of Minneapolis,

Over the years, M. Paul Friedberg’s original 1974 plaza design has suffered problems with maintenance and appearance.

Rick Nelson, Star Tribune

Peavey Plaza redesign strolls forward

  • Article by: NICOLE NORFLEET
  • Star Tribune
  • October 25, 2011 - 10:22 PM

Despite opposition from some preservationists, the overhaul of Peavey Plaza got a preliminary thumbs-up by a majority of the Minneapolis City Council on Tuesday.

Two council committees approved the next steps for the downtown plaza's redesign, which aims to make the park on Nicollet Mall more inviting and accessible while preserving some of its original features.

The revitalization of Peavey Plaza coincides with the Minnesota Orchestra's $45 million renovation of its lobby and exterior. The plaza design presented to the city Tuesday would include multiple levels, a tree-lined promenade, a built-in performance space and two expansive pools with dancing fountains.

On Tuesday, the design team highlighted several of the plaza's current inadequacies, such as the fact that the plaza is not easily accessible to the disabled and that concrete touched by water is discolored and eroded.

Reconstruction of Peavey Plaza has been estimated to cost between $8 million and $10 million. Construction is scheduled to be completed by June 2013, but could take until later in that year.

The new design for the plaza was revealed last week at an open house.

Some preservationists have voiced concerns that the new design inadequately incorporates signature elements in the plaza's original 1974 design by New York landscape architect M. Paul Friedberg.

At the meeting, several members of the community were allowed to speak, including those who supported updating the plaza's features as opposed to replacing them.

Erin Hanafin Berg, a field representative with the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota, said, "We hear regularly from people who regret the loss of the Metropolitan Building. I believe here that there's enough concern about Peavey Plaza and what is proposed at this time that 50 years from now, we'll still be talking about what Minneapolis did to Peavey Plaza."

But her argument was lost on Sandra Colvin Roy, who chairs the Transportation and Public Works Committee.

"It's very, very hard to let it go, but I truly do not think that 50 years from now my name will be an anathema for voting to go forward with a plan that can draw in so many more people," she said.

The redesign plans will eventually be heard by the full City Council at its Nov. 4 meeting.

Nicole Norfleet • 612-673-4495

© 2018 Star Tribune