Peavey Plaza demolition ruling appealed by city
The battle over the demolition of Peavey Plaza wages on.
Fibonacci Blue, Flickr. The public works dept says Peavey Plaza couldn't legally be built today.
Last month, we reported that the Minneapolis Heritage Preservation Commission voted down the city's proposal to demolish the 37-year-old plaza. As many anticipated, the city's public works department has since filed an appeal of the decision.
"Peavey Plaza has been studied very closely in the last year and a half, and we believe revitalizing the plaza is very important," says Beth Grosen, the Community Planning & Economic Development employee who brought the appeal. "But the existing plaza will have to be removed in order to address all of the underlying infrastructure problems."
The proposed demolition of the plaza has spurred heated debate. The park was built in the 1970s by renowned architect M. Paul Friedberg. Opponents of the demolition say Peavey is a vital part of downtown Minneapolis' heritage, and that the city has not supplied the public with enough information about alternatives.
"We're being asked to demolish one of the most important works of landscape architecture in America," said Charles Birnbaum, founder of the Washington, D.C.-based Cultural Landscape Foundation, in an interview with City Pages last month. "What we need, at the least, is more information...You would never go to the dentist and start drilling without X-rays."
The city contests that demolition is the only reasonable option, and disputes whether Peavey should even be treated as a historic resource. From the appeal document:
Screenshot from CPED proposal. After demolishing Peavey, the city plans to replace it with a new design that would bring it "into the 21st Century."
"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.
The appeal goes on to argue that Peavey "could not legally be built today" because it does not conform with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Grosen expects to present the public works department's argument at the City Council's Zoning and Planning Committee meeting on May 17.