Park Board pulls out of "the Yard," meaning huge downtown space won't be a park, per se

Categories: Minneapolis
stribrendering1.jpg
This is the city's vision for how downtown east will look two years from now, but much work remains to be done and time is running short.
Earlier this week, the Minneapolis Park Board voted to have nothing to do with "the Yard," the name officials are using for the huge community space they envision sitting adjacent to the new Vikings stadium.

Notice we used the term "community space," not "park." That's because the Park Board's lack of involvement means the Yard won't be a park, per se.

See also:
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Park Board members cited concerns about being tasked to oversee a "public" space that will be under the control of the Wilfs and the MSFA for 86 days per year, or up to 118 days if an MLS team comes to town. Another worry was that the Yard might end up being a money pit, as it's unclear at this point who will pay for the amenities officials envision the space having, not to mention maintenance.

But City Council Member Jacob Frey, one of the officials most intimately involved in negotiations concerning the Yard, says officials are now moving full speed ahead with the "conservancy" approach he's favored all along.

Asked to explain what that entails, Frey says, "You create a conservancy with a board and a couple of City Council members, [and members from] the Park Board, business interests, and community leaders, and they would kind of oversee the governance structure," Frey tells us. "The thought is the DID [Downtown Improvement District] or Downtown Council would do the day-to-day maintenance, mowing the lawn and that kind of thing."

"I was pushing for that all along," he continues. "The previous assumption was that the Park Board would own it, and it looks like they don't want to do it, and that's fine. The Park Board runs a tremendous neighborhood park system and this is different... it's a little bit of a different ballgame."

Frey, in fact, applauded the Park Board's decision to stay out of the project.

"All entities have their areas of expertise, and the Park Board has shown over many decades that they are extremely apt handling both neighborhood parks and riverfront land, and lakes," Frey says. "They would have to spend money, time, human resources, and capital and take that away from their other ventures, which are going very well by and large, and devote them to the Yard, and I don't blame them. I think they made a great choice."

The Star Tribune reports that money has already been earmarked for conversion of the land where the Strib's property currently stands into a no-frills grassy area. That'll cost about $6 million. But with amenities, the Yard's price tag is expected to balloon up to $20 million, and yearly maintenance costs could be as much as $3 million.

Meanwhile, the Park Board is facing a $1.3 million budget shortfall next year.

The need to fundraise to pay for the Yard is one of the biggest reasons it's important for officials to figure out the specifics of a conservancy as soon as possible, Frey says.

(For more, click to page two.)


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17 comments
digitalprotocol
digitalprotocol topcommenter

i called it from the get go that this park will be bullshit and that the stadium wont look as sold

kayjayp11
kayjayp11

uh oh....community leaders involved? real estate man Wilpf I am sure already has plans to build condos on that property...He just had to get the park board out of the mix.......

stephansonprop
stephansonprop

90% of the city council is too stupid to figure out what the Park Board did, just look at the 20 million they spent on Central ave NE between 37th and 27th only to pay thousands to have ripped out when it was not maintained.

Jesse Spalding
Jesse Spalding

We already have a "Central Park", it's called Loring Park and the Sculpture Gardens. Loring Park was actually originally called Central Park.

Noel Barrick
Noel Barrick

@Glen, lol like the Vikings will pay for it. Wilf will be in charge of managing it, so more than likely he will receive tax dollars to do so. All of this speculation based off of how the deal has gone so far. MN government has done a terrible job so far when it comes to negotiating with other people's money. .. almost like they really dont care.

Joshua Warren
Joshua Warren

So it will house the homeless like Peavy Plaza.. great

roninaudio
roninaudio

You know:  Public park, giant privately-owned condominium complex...same thing really.  :/

Lisa Staunton
Lisa Staunton

Sad, was almost more excited for the park than the stadium!

btwftw
btwftw

What a waste of space it would be if it were only used for Vikings related events. Fuck that.

Glen 'Coco' Haslerud
Glen 'Coco' Haslerud

Okay maybe not a majority of, but a significant amount of time throughout the year.

Glen 'Coco' Haslerud
Glen 'Coco' Haslerud

It's not really going to be a "public park" if the general public is unable to have full access to it 365 days of the year. I respect the Park Board's decision and think that if the vikings are going to claim it for the majority of each year, they can pay for/manage it.

Turtl Ography
Turtl Ography

So it's going to be used as a training ground for MPD?

Patrick Birke
Patrick Birke

I don't blame the park board for not wanting to deal with the wilfs but this is still a miss. Hopefully this space won't go to shit after a few years.

Louie Lu Lettuce
Louie Lu Lettuce

Park, community center, grassy area, patch of grass, event are, etc...etc... Who cares about what it's labeled. Just do something with it. F'n label whores.

Nadalie Thomas
Nadalie Thomas

I agree, a 'Central Park' here would be awesome!

Mike Lindsay
Mike Lindsay

just make it happen. Love the idea of a minneapple central park type thing - place to see outdoor concerts, festivals, etc... more than just football season usage.

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