Minneapolis wants $800M to upgrade, maintain its parks

Minneapolis residents got the opportunity to learn more about a historic road and park project Monday.

About a dozen residents showed up for the public information session at Columbia Golf Course, which focused on an $800 million 20-year maintenance project.

Officials say the plan will help relieve a maintenance backlog and ensure the longevity of parks and roads, by injecting $40 million a year into maintenance for the next 20 years.

“Every park, it’s not like they haven’t been touched over the years, but it’s always been a partial to-do list,” said council member Kevin Reich of Ward one.

Reich says most parks were built in the 1960s and 1970s and basic maintenance isn’t doing enough to ensure they’ll be around for another 40 years.

As for roads, he says many need to be completely reconstructed, and it isn’t just a matter of slapping down more pavement.

“You can maintain it over time but at some point you’re going to need to do more significant work,” said Reich. “For the road side of it--structural work eventually has to be done, no road lasts forever—even with repairs.”

The project mostly relies on a property tax increase which according to Reich will amount to 1.5 to 2 percent over the next 20 years.

Liz Shaffer-Wishner attended Monday’s public meeting and said she doesn’t mind paying more to better the city’s park system.

“I think we’re already a leader nationwide in how amazing our parks are, and I’d like to see it stay that way,” she said. “I do believe in paying more for good services and good communities to live in and I love the parks, I love how they bring us together, so I want to see our parks be as great as they can be.”

The project is a joint-venture between the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board and the City Council.


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