On January 16, the room was packed at the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) Planning Committee for the public hearing regarding the proposed approval of the North Service Area Master Plan (NSAMP). Shingle Creek Neighborhood Association (SCNA) board, committee members and staff attended to testify in support of the committee adopting the plan. SCNA had two board members participating for the past two years on both the MPRB’s RecQuest CAC and the NSAMP CAC process. SCNA also established a visioning committee of 30 members called the Create a Community Center Committee, which did outreach and visioning over several months to seek further community input from local schools, businesses and residents They attended multiple meetings and commented on several draft iterations working to get many of their suggestions incorporated into the proposed plan to help create a 21st Century community center at Creekview Park. Their mission is to meet the growing needs of this diverse and underserved community and seek improvements like air conditioning, renovated kitchen, 21st Century technology, additional space for programming, storage, meeting rooms, coffee/café kiosk, outdoor bathroom access, storage and a neighborhood organization partner office. They believe it’s greatly needed to address the lack of adult activities, lack of maintenance of the creek and Creekview Park, lack of adequate local community kitchen, lack of technology, and incorporate diverse sports like Pickleball and Sepak Takraw, art and lighting.
SCNA Board Member and Create a Community Center Committee member Patty West, kicked off the night’s public hearing period and spoke on the inequities of north and south Minneapolis parks, having lived in both areas. She urged the committee to adopt the plan to help provide more for seniors and youth to do in the Shingle Creek and Creekview Park and help balance the inequities. Kingsley Commons resident Meg Allen brought forward the need to help with a small pocket park behind their facility seeking improvements as part of the plan. SCNA Administrative Director Amy Luesebrink thanked MPRB staff for their work and identifying Creekview Park as a “Big Move” designating it as a “destination” park, similar to Lake Harriet or Silverwood Park due to its assets and ability to draw in residents and visitors alike. Growing assets were incorporated into the plan to a connecting park to the Grand Rounds, having the proposed new Sepak Takraw and Pickleball Courts at Creekview Park for the two very international, diverse and growing sports which currently aren’t offered anywhere else in the city. She reiterated to the committee about the severe shortage and need for more safe public community spaces for northside residents to congregate after 6pm. SCNA Chair Larry Bontreger highlighted the elements of the plan that would not only lift Shingle Creek and Creekview Park but also the over 30 parks included in this important plan and urged their support of the plan.
Others who attended spoke about the needs at various other parks on the Northside. Skateboard parks, tennis courts and partnering with Minneapolis Schools were topics brought forward. MPS School Board member Kerry Jo Felder spoke about the need to “strive toward excellence” on the Northside regarding both school and park assets and facilities. The largest amount of community comments received in public comment leading up to that night but only a few commented both for and against was that of a new possible amenity of a sports dome at the residential park of North Commons.
The committee approved the NSAMP plan with only one minor amendment. Commissioner Severson gave testimony regarding his concerns over the recent shootings around North High. He was in favor of tennis courts at North High but needed further clarity on position of the proposed location of the tennis courts. The plan was approved by the committee to move forward to the full MPRB Board meeting on February 6, with Commissioner Severson being the only opposing vote on the motion.
Once the NSAMP is approved by the full MPRB Board, it may then quickly move forward on projects at a number of Northside parks – starting with Cleveland Park, Farview Park, Folwell Park, Lovell Square Park and Perkins Hill Park – that have been funded through the 20-Year Neighborhood Park Plan. For more info about the NSAMP go to minneapolisparks.org/park_care__improvements/park_projects/current_projects/north_service_area_master_plan/. Contact Adam Regn Arvidson, Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, 612-230-6470, firstname.lastname@example.org