North Commons Park in Minneapolis getting $21 million dollar redevelopment

A north Minneapolis park is set to undergo a $21 million dollar redevelopment.

In his State of the City address last week, Mayor Jacob Frey announced the city’s proposal to invest $3 million into the North Commons Park renovation project. That funding, if approved by the city council, will come from the remaining American Rescue Act Funds.

It's a sprawling green space right in the heart of north Minneapolis. A fixture in the community for decades, North Commons Park is in for an overhaul.

"I think an investment of this scale in this community is going to be transformational," says Adam Arvidson, Director of Strategic Planning for Minneapolis Parks and Recreation.

It's a more than $20 million dollar improvement project that will transform the landscape of one of the city's largest neighborhood parks. Phase one includes building a new rec center and water park. The park board has so far secured more than $8 million dollars in funding, with additional requests out to the city and state.

"This is about the real need and the desire that this northside community has for high-quality high amenity facilities which is something that many feel really hasn’t been provided for a long period of time," says Arvidson.

While many in the community welcome the project, some believe that city, state, and federal investments would be better spent on reenergizing the West Broadway Avenue business corridor.

"I love North Commons, but there are plenty of other things that will make an immediate change in this community with those millions of dollars," says KB Brown.

Brown owns a printing shop on West Broadway. Brown says, "Play centers don’t deter kids from doing things, money does."

In a community plagued by decades of disinvestment, he says the focus should be on economic development.

"There are other things that could be invested in, there are plenty of city and county-owned properties up and down Broadway in north Minneapolis that residents can occupy, that we can build something on so that we can actually have some ownership…. Right now we are 80% renters," says Brown.

From North Commons Park to the proposed Blue Line Light rail extension, Brown's opinion is part of an ongoing discussion on the future of the north side.  "We would like some ownership of our community so that we can stay here, so we have a home," says Brown.

Construction at North Commons Park is expected to begin next year. A number of community meetings regarding the project are expected to take place in the coming months.