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Minneapolis Parks Guided by Democracy

Minneapolis parks remain one of the most democratically directed park systems in America. 

Nearly every time I have the honor of speaking in front of groups, I highlight the unique structure of the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board compared to most every other city in America. Created through a citywide referendum in 1883, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board holds responsibility for creating, maintaining, and programming all of the city parks in Minneapolis and caring for nearly all trees on city-owned land. This fall, voters in Minneapolis are casting votes to select all nine Park Commissioners to serve 4-year terms. Each voter will rank candidates for their specific park district as well as rank three at-large candidates. 

While the Minneapolis Parks Foundation is independent of the Park Board, our ability to deliver on our mission is directly tied to the ability of the Park Board to steward the Minneapolis park system. As we did four years ago, we are committed to helping voters gain an understanding of who is running to serve. To help voters make informed decisions, we joined three other organizations committed to democracy, parks, and programming in Minneapolis – League of Women Voters, Green Minneapolis, and The Loppet Foundation – to develop a questionnaire to help us all learn about those running to serve as Park Commissioners. We appreciate the League of Women Voters conducting and posting the candidates’ responses exactly as they were submitted.

The candidates bring a range of perspectives and we are grateful to every person who chose to run. Public service is challenging in today’s political environment. By offering to serve, each candidate is saying that parks are important and that they wish to play a direct role in determining how they improve our city. We are grateful for all the candidates who responded to the survey. Please spend some time reading the responses and make sure to rank candidates for your district as well as ranking your choices for at-large. Thank you!

The Minneapolis park system is recognized around the world as an example of excellence. In January, we look forward to working with the nine elected commissioners whomever is chosen to continue building on our past successes and expanding the many ways that parks transform our lives.

Federal Funds for Civic Infrastructure

The Parks Foundation is additionally working to support our city’s parks at a federal level through continued work with Reimagining the Civic Commons and the Percent for Place coalition. The $3.5 trillion Federal Reconciliation Bill being debated in Congress right now includes a $10 billion fund, the Community Revitalization Fund, for civic infrastructure projects in underserved areas including parks, greenways, community gardens and storefronts for local entrepreneurs. As members of the Percent for Place coalition, we’re supporting the Community Revitalization Fund as an important first step towards realizing a vision of reconnecting through the shared spaces within our cities and towns. I welcome questions and interest in learning more about this collaboration.

Add your organization to the Percent for Place coalition.

Featured Image Courtesy of Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board.

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