The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) is undergoing what may be the most comprehensive planning effort in its 130 year history. Minneapolis residents are encouraged to get involved and help the MPRB with three distinct, yet deeply intertwined projects: RecQuest, Service Area Master Plans, and Closing the Gap: Investing in our Neighborhood Parks. Residents can get involved by attending a public meeting or subscribing to receive timely emails about the projects.
From June through September, multiple public meetings will be held in each quadrant of the city to share information about the projects. Meetings about all three efforts will be taking place across
Minneapolis this summer. Join us to talk about one, two or all three projects. (Check the MPRB website for the full city-wide meeting schedule.)
- 6 - 8 pm, Tuesday, June 9, North Commons Recreation Center, 1801 James Ave N. Parks discussed: North Commons and Farview
- 6 - 8 pm, Tuesday, June 16, Folwell Recreation Center, 1615 N Dowling Ave
Parks discussed: Creekview, Folwell, Webber
- 6 - 8 pm, Monday, June 22, Harrison Recreation Center, 503 N Irving Ave
Parks discussed: Harrison and Bethune
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RecQuest – an in-depth look at recreation centers
is the MPRB’s in-depth assessment of its 47 community recreation centers. RecQuest not only considers the physical spaces within the recreation centers themselves, but also the programs, services and activities provided at the centers. The project’s goal to see if the centers are meeting our community’s current needs as well as projected needs 20-30 years into the future. It will also help identify any areas of Minneapolis where programming is not currently offered but needed.
Recognizing that both the demographics and recreation preferences of Minneapolis residents are changing, RecQuest seeks to capture not only the community’s current needs, but also their recreation needs of the future.
Master Plans – a look at the outdoor facilities within the parks
While RecQuest focuses on recreation centers, the MPRB also needs to look at the outdoor parts of a park: playgrounds, athletic fields, wading pools, sports courts and much more. The Park Board most often uses a master planning process for these large projects that span multiple neighborhoods. Master plans are documents that use community input to create both a long-term vision and key elements of an area. The master plan typically addresses how the area will be managed and operated, and sets priorities and budget estimates for realistically setting the plan in motion.
In the next five years, Service Area Master Plans will be prepared for all five service areas (South, Downtown, Southwest, North, and Northeast). The first master plans to be initiated are the Downtown Service Area Master Plan
and the South Service Area Master Plan
, which is bounded by the southern and eastern city limits, I-35W, and the I-35W/I-94 downtown loop.
Closing the Gap – a look at the impacts deferred maintenance has had on neighborhood parks
Closing the Gap: Investing in Our Neighborhood Parks
is relevant to both RecQuest and Service Area master plans. It looks at the impacts that deferred maintenance – or delaying regular upkeep past the point of repair – has had on the 157 neighborhood parks in Minneapolis.
Neighborhood parks have greatest number of physical assets that require greater resources to operate, maintain and replace. These assets range from outdoor amenities such as wading pools and playgrounds to structural and property infrastructure including roofs, windows, parking lots and much more. To sustain the current level of physical assets in the park system the MPRB would need $14 million plus inflation each year. The MPRB currently has $5 million per year to invest in these assets, which means that from 2000 to 2015, the funding gap for neighborhood parks has grown to $111 million.
Unless the replacement and preventative maintenance costs associated with the park system’s infrastructure are addressed, the backlog and costs will continue to increase, and funding gap will grow additional $46 million from 2016-2020 (based on current funding levels).