The Corcoran Neighborhood Organization (CNO)
wants to encourage community participation in the planning of an ambitious event it's hosting this fall called Take the Field
The Oct. 11 event, which will take place at Minneapolis's South High School's athletic field, will be a block party-style get-together with a special artistic project, a picnic, a movie screening, and more.
Tonight, people will gather at the intersection of 21st
Avenue South and 31st
Street to brainstorm for the event.
Besides the community-building aspect, Take the Field aims to spark a dialogue about neighborhood traffic issues and possible solutions, according to CNO community organizer Ross Joy.
The event was inspired in part by the school district's decision to phase out yellow school bus service to the city's public high schools, he explains. Starting this fall, students will walk, bike or take public transit to South High, or more cars might be on the road, according to CNO.
In response, the neighborhood group wants to lead a discussion about how 21st
Avenue and 32nd
Streets could become major corridors for pedestrians and cyclists. CNO hopes to jumpstart that conversation at the meeting this week, which is open to anyone. Attendees will help flesh out event details, as well, Joy says.
The neighborhood group is collaborating with the artistic trio Janaki Ranpura, Andrea Steudel, and Meena Mangalvedhekar, known collectively as JAM, on the event's main attraction, in which huge projections and sound will turn the field into an interactive art space. Attendees can join in the visualization, or they can take in the spectacle from the bleachers.
Joy hopes the public art project will “engage the community about the big ideas of scale, time and space.” That's important as the neighborhood considers how walkers, bicyclists and car drivers fit together, physically.
These are issues that have been building in the neighborhood for some time. Last spring, South High students led a petition asking local government leaders to improve 21st Ave S and 32nd Street for cyclists. “Most students live east of Hiawatha highway 55 and thus major crossing like at 32nd
Street are often dangerous and discourages bicycle use,” Joy explains.
Furthermore, the event dovetails with other planning efforts in the neighborhood, including its small area plan and the Urban Planning vision for East Lake Street, he says.
“One of the big outcomes we are seeking is for the wider community to embrace a new identity for the South High Athletic Field,” Joy says.
That identity should be “high-use and diverse, engaging for pedestrians, and safe for cyclists,” he adds.
Source: Ross Joy, lead organizer, CNO
Writer: Anna Pratt