Last Sunday, the final day of fall 2020, various people I know played tennis, hit golf balls, skated on Lake Nokomis and skied at Wirth Park all within Minneapolis parks. Though the lack of snow and unseasonably warm days limits activities we traditionally enjoy in December, Minneapolitans are still finding ample ways to get outside and enjoy the Minneapolis parks.
It seems a fitting end to the year, with most indoor gathering spaces closed, that parks continue to provide a variety of places and activities for us to stay safely connected with friends and family. I know this is true for my family and for many of you as well. No matter where you live in Minneapolis, the parks were important to our health and well-being in many different ways.
So, let’s pay it forward so we can take pride in a park system that is enjoyed citywide and savored by everyone in a multitude of ways. In the coming years, the Minneapolis Parks Foundation intends to improve this legacy to transform more lives through parks. This past year, generous support from donors like you has helped us bring forth new destinations on the Mississippi River at Water Works near the Stone Arch Bridge and the River Overlook in North Minneapolis – part of the RiverFirst vision transforming the cities connection to the Mississippi River. You have also helped us keep 50 Little Free Libraries stocked near all recreation centers, invest in future improvements at places like Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden, and engage new stakeholders in the future vision for our city park system. We also supported more than 30 local parks-inspired artists and authors and establish funding opportunities via the People for Parks Fund and our endowment fund. Thank you!
In 2021, we want to make the year a celebration of the return of our public civic life through parks. We will celebrate the completion of Water Works and the River Overlook, and the opening of a new park restaurant by the Sioux Chef. We look forward to initiating the People for Parks Fund grants program to direct additional resources toward community generated projects and ideas. We will engage new audiences through our Next Generation of Parks, Walk and Talks, and events like Sunrise on the Mississippi and Posters for Parks. Alongside community members and our partner the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, we will explore future signature park improvements that begin to heal past harms. It’s our turn to weave new stories into the map to be enjoyed every season of the year.
I hope you remain connected with us in 2021. If you haven’t made a gift to the Minneapolis Parks Foundation this year, we’d welcome your support to further our work. And as we turn the calendar to a new year, I hope you and your family are surprised with new joys in our parks that help make 2021 a year of delight and celebration.