Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board President Brad Bourn is stepping down from leading the board next year.
Bourn, 40, has served on the Park Board since 2010 and was first elected president in 2018. He said he now wants to focus more directly on issues in his southwest Minneapolis district and in his work outside the Park Board.
"Over the last 10 years, I've never been happier with where the Minneapolis Park Board is as today," he said at Wednesday's Park Board meeting. "We have an elected board that is truly reflective of the people in Minneapolis they serve."
He added: "The best way for me to use my privilege right now is to support their leadership."
Bourn will remain on the board for the remainder of his term, which runs through 2021.
Bourn said one of his main tasks as president was leading the search for a new superintendent after Jayne Miller resigned in 2018. He said the board found "phenomenal" leaders in interim Superintendent Mary Merrill and current Superintendent Al Bangoura.
"That, I think, is going to set the trajectory of the board for the next 20 years," he said of Bangoura's hiring.
He also supported the state's efforts to rename Lake Calhoun to its original Dakota name, Bde Maka Ska. The renaming was appealed and is now in front of the state Supreme Court, though the Park Board later proceeded with renaming the surrounding roads and parkways with the Dakota name.
Bourn led the Park Board through a lengthy legal process with Graco Inc., which resulted in the development of an upcoming riverfront park next to Graco's headquarters in northeast Minneapolis. The park is expected to have a soft opening in 2021.
He is the longest-serving commissioner on the Park Board. His leadership bridged a power shift within the board, which at times has led to sharp divisions among commissioners.
In both 2018 and 2019, Bourn won the leadership position on a 6-3 vote, with Commissioners LaTrisha Vetaw, Meg Forney and Steffanie Musich voting against him on both occasions.
In addition, he has served for four years as the executive director of the Lyndale Neighborhood Association in south Minneapolis.
Commissioner Jono Cowgill said Bourn's legacy as president was as "a champion for clear progressive causes" and as an ardent supporter of youth and communities of color.
Park Board commissioners elect a president and vice president at the first meeting of each year. That meeting will be on Jan. 2. Bourn said he will not endorse a nominee but that he will support whoever chooses to run for the position.
The Park Board recently passed a $126.2 million budget for next year, which increases spending on youth programs and employment opportunities across the system.
Miguel Otárola • 612-673-4753