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Super Bowl MVP: Minneapolis parks and the public realm

Amidst the hubbub surrounding the Super Bowl and the affiliated festivities of the last month, one MVP shined the brightest: our Most Valued Places – Minneapolis parks and the public realm.

From the zip line that stretched across the Mississippi in the Central Riverfront Regional Park, to the Great Northern Festival events at Wirth Park and Lake Nokomis, to the newly redesigned Nicollet Mall and the Commons adjacent to the stadium, our city’s legacy of creating and activating a world-class park system was the common thread connecting it all and defining Minneapolis.

The wonderful truth is that we get to continue to enjoy these spaces after the dust (and snow) settles and the crowds return home. For everyone who lives here, this wasn’t a once in a generation event – it was just another day in Minneapolis where parks are activated year-round and we embrace winter as a reason to be outside, not something to avoid.

Minneapolis’s economic and cultural strengths are banked in the Minneapolis park system and our natural environment within an urban setting. We live in a world where too many connections are digital and distant. Yet, standing outside in the cold alongside neighbors and new friends cheering on hometown bands, international skiers, or out-of-town skaters deepens our connection to place and makes our city deeply lovable.

And our public spaces are adapting to better serve our community – through programming and festivals that celebrate not just who we are, but who we are becoming. On any weekend of the year you can find something to do in our parks.

This wealth of public space is not by chance, but rather a deliberate, thoughtful process to invest in Minneapolis’s parks over time.  It is a demonstration of our city’s core values. As Minneapolis grows and more people come to see how special it is to live within the city, we need to ensure that everyone continues to have access to the natural world through parks.

So few of us were able to attend the actual game – it wasn’t meant for a local audience. But all of us benefit every day from our parks. The Super Bowl was a grand excuse to celebrate the amazing places we share that make Minneapolis unique among American cities.

This is the bounty of our work – in partnership with our public partners the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board and the City of Minneapolis and many nonprofits organizations we work alongside: We’re continuing to advance the vision so that no matter the event or the audience, there is always a system of parks and public spaces that distinguishes us as a city within a park. This is why we are here.

Featured image courtesy MPRB

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