Some local business leaders are pushing for a new central park in downtown Minneapolis that would connect with the Mississippi River.
David Wilson, a managing director at Accenture's
Minneapolis office, who presented the concept to the city's park board on Feb. 16, says that the group, which includes many business leaders from the Downtown Improvement District
plus other downtowners, hopes to make the area a more "stroll-able, pedestrian-friendly green core."
The multifaceted plan, which is still in conceptual stages, involves a new park north of the Central Library
that would link with the neighboring Cancer Survivors Park.
Linear components would stretch from the light rail stop at 5th Street and Marquette Avenue to Hennepin Avenue and head east, forming a green corridor that leads into a park near the riverfront.
The three-phase project will probably take 10 years to fulfill, with the earliest stage to acquire and develop property near the library costing $8 to $10 million, he says.
However, it's a much-needed amenity. While there's plenty of green space across the city, "there's a greater demand for green space" downtown, especially with 35,000 downtown residents.
In his view, the central park could be a place for a city Christmas tree or menorah, block parties, skating, and other activities that would encourage people to "get more connected with street life."
Wilson says that interest and passion for investing in outdoor green spaces and parks has gone from low to extremely high over just the past few years, with projects such as the Mississippi Riverfront Design Competition
and the revamping of Peavey Plaza
On top of that, Nicollet Mall is due for a renovation in the near future while the park plan is being rolled into the Downtown Improvement District strategic plan for 2025.
Wilson says he and others are realizing that "this is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to change the face of downtown."
Source: David Wilson, Accenture managing director in Minneapolis
Writer: Anna Pratt