One of my highlights of July was when I had the honor of joining Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board Superintendent Bangoura, Park Board District 1 Commissioner Billy Menz, and a group of kids in celebrating the opening of a new playground at Northeast Park. While the Park Board has many occasions each year to celebrate playground upgrades and new equipment, we were invited to participate because of our role in helping a donor contribute to add features to the already planned playground.
Earlier this year, we were approached by a donor who wanted to contribute to the parks in honor of her mother who loved visiting parks and watching all the activities in them – especially around the playgrounds. We were able to coordinate with the Park Board planning team to find a playground that was near construction, but due to increasing costs, had to eliminate or not include important features. The location matched the geography her mother visited and with the additional funding, we were able to include musical play features, a completely accessible surface, and an additional bench.
While the Park Board continues to add as many features as possible in each of their projects, the cost of construction and the needs across the system require adaptations to meet the broadest need. By working with donors who have resources to contribute, the Minneapolis Parks Foundation helps steward their generosity toward projects and efforts in the park system that can have transformative impacts. These upgrades will be enjoyed by the community for the next twenty years. The true value of the gift can’t be measured in dollars.
The playground at Northeast Park is shaded by mature trees and is centered between soccer fields, the Jim Lupient Water Park, and the Northeast Recreation Center and is visible from a variety of vantage points for parents with many kids to keep track.
Whether it’s through People for Park Fund grants, donor guided philanthropy, or broader improvements in the parks (and many other ways to give), the Minneapolis Parks Foundation continues to strive to leverage the generosity of our community toward the betterment of our community. We are grateful to all the people and institutions who contribute to this effort in ways big and small.
The next time you’re in a park, please take a moment to sit on a bench or pause under a tree and take in all that is occurring around you in that park and the features that contribute to that activity. I guarantee you’ll see more than you imagined and walk away appreciating even more all that the parks offer.
Photos courtesy of MPRB