Minneapolis Park Board Commissioner Annie Young announced Wednesday that she's not running for re-election and will leave office after her seventh term ends this year.
Young, 75, suffers from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, which has affected her attendance and participation on the Park Board. Currently the longest-serving Minneapolis official and second-longest serving park commissioner in the city's history, Young said she pushed herself to beat the 30-year record set by Maude Armatage but realized that "goal was really unnecessary."
"Twenty-eight years seems like it's time to hang it up," Young said. "My health and energy is keeping me from doing this week after week after week. It's time for a different person. Someone with new ideas, new thoughts, to take on the difficult decisions."
Young, who says she was often mistaken for a person of color, has been an ardent advocate for racial equity and diversity on the Park Board. She directed her efforts at cleaning lakes, closing health disparities facing communities of color, reducing the number of parklands mowed and creating greener parks.
During an emotional farewell, she said she will serve as the honorary chairwoman and adviser to Park Board candidate Mike Tate, who is running for an at-large seat.
"Many faces in our community are not reflected on the board," she said. "Their voices should be at the table … as well."
Young, who was born in Los Angeles and raised in Denver, joined the Park Board in 1989. She is a longtime resident of the Phillips neighborhood.