Peavey Park Community Listening and Visioning Project
The situation at Peavey Park was common to many parks in economically distressed urban communities. It symbolized many of the stresses facing its surrounding Phillips neighborhood. Residents were afraid to use the park because of drug, gang, and gun violence that plagued the north end of the park. Other barriers included crossing major arterial streets for access, as well as a barren, unwelcoming park landscape. As a symbol of the neighborhood, the park was also an ideal place to act in revitalizing the community. In partnership with Mayor Sharon Sayles Belton and the Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board, Hope Community, Inc. led the charge.
Hope Community, Inc. was already working in the Phillips neighborhood to create housing and economic opportunities for low- and moderate-income families. The essence of their neighborhood vision is called Children's Village, self-described as "a dream of what a neighborhood can be when children matter." It calls for an overhauled neighborhood design that provides diverse housing, transportation, and public space opportunities that create a safe and stable environment for children. An important element of the plan is Peavey Park.
In addition to creating physical infrastructure, Hope Community, Inc. works to grow community leadership by engaging residents in decision making that affects their lives. In that spirit, The City Parks Forum provided grant money to enable Hope, in partnership with the city and park board, to assemble a group of community leaders to plan and conduct a series of 18 community listening sessions revolving around the Peavey Park and the Phillips neighborhood. Nearly 200 adults and children attended the sessions which were conducted in several languages to facilitate the participation of the diverse ethnicity of the neighborhood.
Following the listening sessions, Hope conducted several community visioning sessions. Working with an architect who attended both the listening and visioning sessions, residents created a concept plan to revitalize their park. Finally, community members, many of whom had never before attended a public meeting, presented their plan to the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board. When the board approved the new park design, the Phillips residents clapped and cheered.
Mary Keefe, Associate Director
Hope Community, Inc.
2101 Portland Ave. South
Minneapolis, MN 55404
John Gurban, Superintendent
Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board
2117 West River Road
Minneapolis MN 55411-2227