Minneapolis Park Board unveils 4 concepts for improvements to North Commons Park

For decades, North Commons Park has been an oasis in the heart of North Minneapolis.

Now community members are getting their first look at what the park could look like in the future.

"I've lived in the community now for 50 years, and it's time for North Commons to have a change. It's time for our youth to get what they deserve. It's time for North Minneapolis to get the investment," said North Minneapolis resident Shennika Suddeth.

The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board hosted a community open house Tuesday night to unveil four new concepts for the North Commons Improvement Project.

Concepts 1 and 2 would refurbish and expand the current community building and water park, while concepts 3 and 4 would get rid of both existing facilities and rebuild them from scratch.

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"What we want to hear from people is not necessarily 'I want to vote for concept 2 or 4'. What we want to hear is 'what do you like about concept 2? What do you dislike about concept 4? What's missing from concept 1'," said Adam Arvidson, Director of Strategic Planning for the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board.

Common features across all 4 concepts include dedicated rooms for teens and seniors, a fitness center, and new indoor basketball courts.

What's different are the configurations, the costs, $35 million to redo the current facilities and $49 million to build new ones,  and timelines, with redos ready by 2025 but no set end date for new construction.

"I would love to see concepts 3 and 4. If we can't get that, I would love to see 1 and 2 until we can get 3 and 4. That is the start of something," said North Minneapolis resident Monique Wooten.

The park board says after several open houses over the next two months, the designers will go back to the drawing board to come up with a final concept, including input they heard from the public.

"We've waited 50 years. Why not wait a little longer to get what I know North Minneapolis needs for our community," said Suddeth.