Common Ground

Community Profile: Kelly Ptacek

We regularly highlight members of our community who are supporting Minneapolis parks through their involvement with the Parks Foundation. We are 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!

This month, we hear from Kelly Ptacek.

Tell us about a favorite childhood memory of being in a park (it doesn’t have to be in Minneapolis).
One year my family had a Father’s Day picnic with my grandparents at Pikes Peak State Park in Iowa. We hiked along the trails, looked at fossils in the rocks, and gawked over the view from one of the highest bluffs over the Mississippi River. The shade of the huge bur oak trees, the smell of the grill, and that view of the huge river was just amazing.

What park experiences do/would you like to share with out-of-town guests?
I think every person that has come to Minneapolis to visit me has been to Minnehaha Falls. We also go to SE Main Street for the awesome river/city view which always turns into a walk through Father Hennepin Bluff Park, then over the Stone Arch Bridge, and around Mill Ruins Park. Once a year I’ll take my brother and my sister-in-law kayaking on the Chain of Lakes and every time we are blown away by how pretty it is going through the Kenilworth Lagoon and Channel. It doesn’t feel like you are in the middle of a city at all!

Why do you support the Minneapolis Parks Foundation?
I appreciate the vision the Minneapolis Parks Foundation brings to the future of our community. I want to support the mission to continue to evolve our public spaces and including all of the members of the community in the planning. I also love attending the Next Generation of Parks events and value the Foundation’s Facebook page for sharing really interesting news to my daily feed.

Why are parks important to Minneapolis?
When I first moved to Minneapolis I was blown away at the beauty of this city. There are so many rich green spaces and a wide variety of places to explore.

That is something we have that feels very unique to us. All year-round you can see people playing outside and enjoying the parks with their friends and family. The Luminary Loppet is one of my favorite events. It is the coldest weekend of the year and it seems like everyone is outside enjoying the city. We just have something so special.

Trails, beaches or playgrounds?
I am drawn to many parks for different reasons but I’m always on the trails. I love biking the Grand Rounds and have a personal goal to ride all of the bike trails in the city. I love the hiking trails too. There are days that I’ve been walking on the paths along Minnehaha Creek listening to the water and I didn’t even realize I was steps away from a busy street.

Do you love parks as much as we do? If you would like to be featured in a future Community Profile, please contact me at

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