Star Tribune: Minneapolis needs more trees – here’s why

With emerald ash borers threatening many of our street trees, we need to reforest our city now.

By Thomas Fisher, February 4, 2017

Minneapolis has a tree crisis, according to Peter MacDonagh, director of design and science at the landscape architecture firm Kestrel Design Group in Edina.

One cause of that crisis is out of our control: Trees, specifically ash trees, are dying.

Emerald ash borer has the potential to wipe out most of the ash trees in the city, as many as 217,000 trees, according to a 2012 Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board survey.

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The Journal: Green Minneapolis takes the reins of the Commons

A detailed look into the organization taking over the downtown park.

By Eric Best, January 25, 2017

Next month a relatively new private nonprofit will take over maintenance and fundraising for the high-profile Downtown East Commons park.

Green Minneapolis is a conservancy created by the Minneapolis Downtown Council two years ago for exactly this purpose. As of Feb. 1, the 501(c)3 non-profit organization will formally take over the maintenance and fundraising for the two-block park, which will see greater investments into programming under Green Minneapolis control.

“I think the really big step up and improvement in the next year is that we’re going to be actively activating the park,” said David Wilson, who chairs the conservancy’s board.

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Southwest Journal: Conservancy to take on Commons operations, fundraising

By Eric Best, Janaury 14,  2017 (Print Edition)

The City of Minneapolis is preparing to hand over operations of the Downtown East Commons to Green Minneapolis, a non-profit conservancy formed by the Minneapolis Downtown Council.

The Commons, the two-block park in front of U.S. Bank Stadium on the east side of downtown Minneapolis, fully opened last August and has been maintained by the Minneapolis Downtown Improvement District. A nearly $1.4-million interim operating agreement with Green Minneapolis would last through the end of the year, pending City Council approval. About $875,000 will come from donations to the park effort and $500,000 will come from the city’s adopted Public Works budget.

As part of the agreement, the group will take on the city’s goal of fundraising $22 million for designing and constructing a completed park. The city revealed in a recent memo that initial fundraising for the park did not cover the $15.3-million cost of opening the Commons despite putting on hold two buildings, a wet plaza and other design features.

Ryan Cos., the developer of the park and surrounding development, agreed to bridge the approximately $1.2-million budget shortfall through a short-term loan. The city may reimburse the company through donations and/or park dedication fees, according to the agreement.

It’s unclear how much planners have raised beyond the approximately $14 million. Green Minneapolis will distribute 77 percent to 83 percent of future contributions to the City of Minneapolis for current and future capital costs. The remaining one-fifth, or 17 percent to 23 percent, will go toward park operations.

Several local players have already supported the project, including the Minnesota Vikings, Wells Fargo and Ryan.

Star Tribune: 6 reasons to like new Downtown East Commons park in Minneapolis

The largest open space in downtown Minneapolis shows that an urban park can be more than trees and grass.

By Frank Edgerton Martin, July 29, 2016

MINNEAPOLIS —The new, much-debated Downtown East Commons park opened to little fanfare. But the people’s park is turning out to be much better than early opponents expected.

Downtown East Commons, which opened last week, is a new kind of public space for Minneapolis. While our older parks such as Loring and Elliot are designed to be calming escapes from city life, the Commons celebrates the city itself. (more…)

Finance & Commerce: Downtown East park opens to public

By Hank Long, July 21, 2016

The Commons, a 4.2-acre public green space that even the Minnesota Vikings have called the “centerpiece” of Downtown East redevelopment, opened Thursday afternoon near U.S. Bank Stadium.

Ryan Cos. US Inc. and the city of Minneapolis partnered in development of the park, which has been in the works for more than three years.
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KARE: Commons Park Opens in Minneapolis

By Zach Lashway, July 21, 2016

MINNEAPOLIS–Downtown Minneapolis has a new green space. Commons Park, a 4.2-acre park near U.S. Bank Stadium, opened today.

“This park is for everybody,” said Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges. “What I love seeing is everybody standing on the grass right now, everyone is playing Frisbee and knowing that for generations, it’s going to be true…this park is for Minneapolis, this park is for everyone.”
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Star Tribune: Celebration marks opening of the Commons park near stadium

By Eric Roper, July 21, 2016

Frisbees, food trucks and dancers welcomed visitors Thursday to the Commons, a lush new park in front of U.S. Bank Stadium that planners hope will become a lively centerpiece of that evolving corner of downtown Minneapolis.

There are lingering issues over how to pay for the 4.2-acre park’s maintenance. But its completion celebration is also raising some lighter questions. Namely, can parkgoers bring a bottle of chardonnay?
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Minnpost: Essential, illegal, misbegotten or misunderstood? Ready or not, downtown Minneapolis’ ‘Commons’ is set to open

By Peter Callaghan, July 21, 2016

MINNEAPOLIS — The Downtown East Commons park in downtown Minneapolis gets an official opening Thursday, which will include — of course — a ceremonial tossing of the first Frisbee.

There will be speeches that will praise the park, as well as its designers and builders. Then the grassy fields and hardscaped areas will host its first event: an outdoor celebration, complete with food trucks, an Asian dance team and free yoga classes. (The event will go from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. with the opening programming beginning at noon.)

But what this 4.2-acre park — wedged among a giant new stadium, a new apartment building, two new office buildings and the historic Armory — might want more than anything is to be loved, to be understood. From its inception nearly three years ago, after all, the park has been the subject of debate and derision. Who would run it? Who would pay for it? Was it public or private or somewhere in between — the worst of both worlds? (more…)

MPR: Minneapolis opens new park in heart of downtown

By Tim Nelson, July 21, 2016

Football season has a kick off. Baseball games have a ceremonial a first pitch. But out on the new grassy turf bordering Portland Avenue in downtown Minneapolis today, Mayor Betsy Hodges tossed the official first Frisbee.

Hodges was joined by City Council members, business leaders, residents and hundreds of well-wishers to officially open the eastern half of the new Commons park, a space framed with trees and sidewalks, nestled between the new US Bank Stadium to the east and the downtown skyline to the west.
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KARE: Downtown Commons Takes Shape Near Stadium

By John Croman, June 17, 2016

MINNEAPOLIS — The green space known as The Commons is taking shape in a two-block area of downtown Minneapolis near the US Bank stadium. Backers have high hopes for the hybrid park and outdoor event center, which is part of the sweeping makeover of the east downtown area.

“The Commons in every way can be the kitchen table for our city,” Jacob Frey, the Minneapolis City Council Member who represents the neighborhood, told KARE. (more…)