The Minneapolis Park Board is holding a series of public meetings about what if any improvements voters want — and would be willing to pay for.
Residents will be asked about the programming at the 47 recreation centers, as well as the suitability of outdoor park areas ranging from playing fields to wading pools.
A key item will be a park-specific look at the maintenance of neighborhood parks.
The park system has calculated that it needs $9 million in addition to the $5 million it spends each year on park maintenance. But before the Park Board decides whether to ask voters for more money through a referendum, it has decided to evaluate whether buildings and grounds meet community needs.
“These facilities were all built in the 1970s,” said Park Board President Liz Wielinski. “We had a different community then.” For example, she said, soccer is now much more widespread. And the traditional Hmong game of hurling tops known as tuj lub is emerging in St. Paul.
That may require different outdoor playing fields, and citizens are already being involved in determining which parks get which facilities. All parks would get playground equipment, for example, but only one site in a district might have a more specialized facility like a skateboard park.
Each meeting will include information about where the park’s facilities are in their replacement cycles. The biggest backlog by 2020 is projected to be in renovating natural-turf athletic fields, at a cost of nearly $49 million, and recreation center buildings at $29.7 million.
Some types of facilities are better maintained than others. For example, little to no money has been put into field lighting, basketball courts or pedestrian bridges, while skate parks, wading pools and playgrounds have gotten more attention.
Here are the June meetings, which all begin at 6 p.m. A complete schedule is available online at: http://tinyurl.com/nzt4nhc.
Tuesday: Folwell Recreation Center. Parks discussed: Creekview, Webber, Folwell
June 22: Harrison Recreation Center. Parks discussed: Bethune, Harrison
June 23: Linden Hills Park. Parks discussed: Linden Hills, Pershing Field
June 25: Kenwood Community Center. Park discussed: Kenwood
Steve Brandt • 612-673-