Peavey Plaza demolition ruling appealed by city

peaveynow200.jpg
Fibonacci Blue, Flickr.
The public works dept says Peavey Plaza couldn't legally be built today.
The battle over the demolition of Peavey Plaza wages on.

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."

Peaveynew300.jpg
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."
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:

"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.

Previous Coverage:

  • Peavey Plaza demolition voted down
  • Should Peavey Plaza be demolished? [POLL]

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    8 comments
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    amiller92
    amiller92

    What's the evidence for this being an important part of the city's heritage? What local history or significant events happened there?

    Birnbaum says it's an important work of architecture.  I have no idea if he's right, but it doesn't really matter.  That doesn't make it historical.  Take lots of pictures to remember it by.  We need a plaza that's usable and works for the city.

    What
    What

     It's a cultural wannabe at best

    oplease
    oplease

    And and do it quickly. Nothing is more important right now than Peavey Plaza. Nothing at all. So please, hurry and tear it down so the city can put up another hideaous project. Hurrry!!!!!! Humanity is depending on it!

    Erica
    Erica

    "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."

    I'm calling BS on the opponents. I wonder if any of them have spent time in Peavey Plaza. As a resident of downtown Minneapolis and who works downtown, Peavey Plaza today is a joke. It is where all the bums hang out (to drink and smoke weed) and bother those like me who walk by it and/or sit there during lunch. Plus, it is just not functional for modern times. It's time to update Peavey Plaza. It's 2012, not the 1970s.

    Anthony Thompson
    Anthony Thompson

    Erica, your argument is BS. Bums are a societal problem, not a design problem. Do you really believe that a new design will magically remove the vagrants? And, yes, I spent a lot of time there when the fountains and reflecting pool were fully functioning. That park needs to be restored, not demolished. It's frankly amazing that it's in as good a shape as it is considering it's suffered 40 years of neglect by the City of Minneapolis. 

    amiller92
    amiller92

    I go by it at least twice a day.  Usually there are 3-5 people whose appearance suggest they are homeless using the benches at the top of the plaza along the mall.  That's it.

    At the moment, there are also Occupy protesters camping on the next few levels down, but that's a relatively new development.

    Otherwise, it doesn't seem to get much use.  But the weather is great right now, so maybe I'll go by and see if anyone else is using the plaza.  I wouldn't bet on more than a handful.

    Mattymelandro
    Mattymelandro

    I'm calling BS on you for such a poor argument. It's time to get smarter. It's 2012, not the 1970's.

    ludwigtr
    ludwigtr

    So, you're argument for keeping the plaza is that Erica has a poor argument and needs to 'get smarter'?

    well played.  You win.

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