In early 2016, St. Paul and the Trust for Public Land bought the final piece of property needed for a new 5-acre park near the Green Line in St. Paul’s Midway neighborhood.
But plenty of work — and fundraising — remains before the new, still-unnamed park becomes reality. On Thursday, students of nearby Gordon Parks High School and residents of Skyline Tower are hosting a community gathering to share information about the park and the work that went into getting this far, and to build enthusiasm for the next steps in its development.
There will be live entertainment, food, historical information about the property (it once was a place where traveling circuses set up camp) and other activities, said Paul Creager, curriculum and media arts coordinator at the high school. The program is scheduled to run from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on the park site at 421 Griggs Av. between the high school and Skyline Towers.
In recent years, the area has been part of a parking lot and a couple of vacant lots.
The Trust for Public Land bought the final parcel for the park in February 2016, then donated it to the city. Two other parcels were purchased earlier with a combination of private funds and money from the city’s 8-80 Vitality Fund. In all, the city and the trust set aside about $2.5 million for the purchase.
It is estimated that an additional $3 million is needed to begin construction of the park.
Skyline Tower residents and students at Gordon Parks have been active champions of the project for several years, adding their voices to a continuing call to add more green space along the Green Line light rail transit route.
According to a green space assessment, just 2.3 percent of the Midway neighborhood is dedicated to parkland. Overall, the city average is 15 percent. The new park will be within a 10-minute walk of more than 2,600 residents — 30 percent of them children and 9 percent of them elderly.