The Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board (MPRB) operates 47 recreation centers throughout the city and leases two additional facilities to nonprofits. A new ongoing MPRB project will have officials examining how to best develop buildings, programs and services for the next generation of rec center users.
Called RecQuest, the project is headed by a 22-member community advisory committee. Their purpose: complete a comprehensive needs assessment of recreational facilities and programs, and create a plan for developing them so that they appropriately serve the community.
This initiative for revamping the city’s recreation centers comes at a time in which many of the facilities are nearing the end of their usefulness to the community. Most buildings were erected in the 1960s and 1970s, and improvements or new facilities are required to meet current and future neighborhood needs.
Important in the scope of the project: Ensure that a new vision of centers, programs, and services align with changing demographics and recreational trends.
The RecQuest Community Advisory Committee will undertake the following actions during the course of the project: engage with the community in a collaborative process meant to assess neighborhood needs; document community recreation needs for facilities and programs; compile and analyze recreation center facility use and program data; create a vision of what recreational opportunities should be available to the next generation of users; establish guiding principles for managing and operating centers; and create an investment strategy for recreation centers that will guide capital spending for next 25–30 years.
A critical focus during a review of the city’s recreation centers, programs and services will be racial equity. The RecQuest Community Advisory Committee has been charged with ensuring that the needs of under-represented and underserved communities are reflected in the planning.
In order to help ensure diverse perspectives are accounted for, the MPRB has brought Voices for Racial Justice into the process. This Minneapolis-based organization has been working to advance racial, cultural, social and economic justice since 1993.
Given the focus on incorporating residents’ perspectives, the MPRB naturally plans for a wide range of community outreach activities. The body will conduct listening sessions, hold neighborhood organization roundtables, facilitate community workshops and stage informational tables at community events. Additionally, the MPRB will interview stakeholders, arrange focus groups and issue questionnaires.
Among the perspectives the MPRB hopes to incorporate into planning are those of current recreation center users, non-users, underrepresented groups, recreation groups, community partners and government agencies. The goal is to account for all of the different stakeholders to develop a plan that best serves city residents over the coming decades.
Meetings of the RecQuest Community Advisory Committee are open to the public. In addition to observing the proceedings of the committee during meetings, residents can comment on plans to develop the next generation of recreation centers, programs, and services.
For details on the meeting locations/times, visit minneapolisparks.org/park_care__improvements/park_projects/current_projects/recquest/.