Peavey Plaza back on path to destruction

Courtesy The Cultural Landscape Foundation.
M. Paul Friedberg's vision to revamp his original design.
The city's appeal to demolish Peavey Plaza in Nicollet Mall was approved by a City Council committee Thursday, meaning the 37-year-old park is one step closer to destruction.

Designed in the 1970s by landscape architect M. Paul Friedberg, the city's plan to completely replace Peavey with a slick, new concept has caused plenty of controversy. The city says demolition is the most viable course of action, but the resistance argues Peavey is a historical piece of Minneapolis' heritage, and options to simply remodel the existing park have been overlooked.

The city's Public Works department first brought the plan to demolish Peavey before the Minneapolis Heritage Preservation Commission last month. When the commission voted against it, they appealed to the Zoning and Planning Committee. The appeal argued that Peavey is not actually a historic landmark, and it doesn't conform to the American with Disabilities Act, so could not be legally built today.

From the document:

Even if Peavey Plaza is determined to be a historic resource, a demolition permit is warranted. Appellant has completed an existing conditions assessment, design studies, and economic analyses over the past eighteen months and determined that Peavey Plaza is functionally obsolete and the cost to repair or replicate is not feasible.

Meanwhile, Friedberg has created alternative plans to remodel his old design.

Take a look:

Courtesy The Cultural Landscape Foundation.

Courtesy The Cultural Landscape Foundation.

"The new concept put forward by Friedberg updates the Plaza to address issues of accessibility, safety, revenue generation and other issues while maintaining the site's signature design elements," according to a statement from the Washington, D.C.-based Cultural Landscape Foundation. "The new concept also maintains the option for winter skating, a beloved activity at Peavey."

Charles Birnbaum, founder of the Cultural Landscape Foundation, says demolition isn't necessary to satisfy legitimate concerns about the Plaza. He also says the city has a total of four plans for Peavey, but the public has only seen one, which involves demolition. "Why can't we see the four plans?"

CPED proposal/The Cultural Landscape Foundation
The city's vision for Peavey Plaza (left) vs. M. Paul Friedberg's alternative design (right).

Beth Grosen, senior project coordinator for Minneapolis, says the plan will go in front of the full City Council at its May 25 meeting.

"Work will continue to finalize the design of Peavey Plaza and seek private donations for the revitalization," she says in an email. "Construction is expected in 2013."

Previous Coverage:

  • Should Peavey Plaza be demolished? [POLL]
  • Peavey Plaza demolition voted down
  • Peavey Plaza demolition ruling appealed by city

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