Reflections on a Summer of Connections

October 24, 2019 by Tom Evers

This time of year, the beauty of Minneapolis parks changes starkly before our eyes. With red, orange, and yellow colors bursting from the tree canopy under a crisp blue sky, Minneapolitans were beckoned outside these October days to savor our city parks in their splendor.

As we transition into fall, it’s appropriate to reflect on the many ways we were able to connect people to our mission in our parks this summer. This year, we continued our Walk & Talks guided tour program, through which strangers shared stories of their own connections to places like the Central Riverfront, Loring Park, and the Sculpture Garden. We co-hosted the annual Get Outdoors Day at Powderhorn Park, where hundreds of children and families experience first-hand, in some cases for the first time, activities that enrich the experience of parks and the natural world. And we hosted several trips on the water, by kayak, canoe, and Minneapolis Water Taxi. All of this we did with the goal of sharing the potential of our work and showing more people the power of thoughtful collaboration and generous philanthropy. If you would like to join us next year or have ideas for other walks or activities, please don’t hesitate to let me know.

Of course, the summer was bookended by two significant RiverFirst milestones. In June, we unveiled the design for the community-embraced Great Northern Greenway Overlook and, in August, we commemorated the launch of construction at Water Works. Together these two projects, which were made possible through community visioning and philanthropic support, will welcome everyone to the riverfront and celebrate our deep connection to the Mississippi River.

These activities, whether celebratory or educational, bring people closer to the purpose of the Minneapolis Parks Foundation and cultivate common ground among all who benefit from and love our parks. These outings and community celebrations help the community see first-hand the impact of combining philanthropy and community vision in transforming lives for the better. Through donor contributions and creative partnerships, we are helping ensure that the Minneapolis Park system continues to provide a myriad of ways to inspire, to heal, and to connect. 

In the remaining weeks of 2019, we’ll be asking you to contribute anew to the Minneapolis Parks Foundation so that we are able to remain engaged on all levels in delivering on the promise of our parks – through design, community engagement and accelerated funding. Your support helps us expand the story, create new places of awe, and better align community parks to the needs of those living nearby.

As we savor this ephemeral season of gold and orange and are drawn outside before the winds and rain of November change the scenery yet again, I hope you continue to share our appreciation for the responsibility we have to pass forward to the next generation (and to those already here) a city park system that makes Minneapolis glorious year round and welcomes everyone to get outside even more. Happy autumn and thank you for another season of making our parks the centerpiece of the city.

Featured Image: Walk & Talk of Loring Park and Minneapolis Sculpture Garden

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