Common Ground

Community Profile: John Ressler

John & Rickie Ressler

Each month we want to highlight members of our community who are supporting Minneapolis parks through their involvement with the Parks Foundation. We are constantly inspired by the people who care for and use our parks and we want to recognize the many individuals and organizations who make our system incredible through their generosity. Thank you!

Tell us about a favorite childhood memory of being in a park (it doesn’t have to be in Minneapolis).
My grandparents lived in Minneapolis and we lived in a small town so it was incredible to visit them in the BIG city. We would go on picnics to Riverside Park (which wasn’t so fancy, but we thought was great) and Minnehaha Falls. You could take a street car to Lake Harriet to see free concerts at the pavilion. It was wonderful.

We moved to Minneapolis in 1957. Longfellow was the closest park and we would ride bikes to play baseball and tennis there. Longfellow was the center point of life at our age it was so important to have a gathering place. Longfellow field was that to a bunch of junior high kids in the late 1950s.

Later we could take buses to hook up to other parks. Ten cents to take the bus all over the city. All our sports were organized through the Park Board (baseball, basketball, tennis). Parks were just a part of everything we did.

You didn’t need a phone. You would just get together with people, in person, and spend time together.

What park experiences do/would you like to share with out-of-town guests?
We like to take a ride around the Grand Rounds with stops at Minnehaha Falls and the Rose Garden by Lake Harriet for sure.

Why do you support the Minneapolis Parks Foundation?
Minneapolis parks are home to me. We still use the parks all the time and we don’t live in the city anymore.

Why are parks important to Minneapolis?
How a city treats its kids and how it treats its old people (like me, grin) is so important. I’ve traveled a lot and seen how other cities are lacking green space. I was in a city where I traveled for miles and didn’t see a tree. Seriously! Minneapolis Parks takes care of trees (and people).

Not to get too personal, but when things get rough you walk through the parks to soothe and calm yourself and talk things through. They help.

Trails, beaches or playgrounds?
YES! It depends on your age. There are just so many ways that we have used the parks. If they hadn’t been there I can’t even imagine. I am just so impressed how the parks have changed with the times.

Featured image: Courtesy John & Rickie Ressler

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