PRK02 Playground and Site Improvements Program

Project Details:

Project Start Date: Varies

Ongoing Program: Y

Submitting Department: Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board

Contact Person: Adam Arvidson

Level of Need: High

Estimated Project Completion Date: Varies

Department Priority: 3

Contact Phone Number: 612-230-6470


Project Location:

Address: Varies

City Sector: Multiple

Affected Neighborhoods: Multiple

Affected Wards: Multiple

Project Description:

This project features all play area-only capital projects. Typical play area and site improvements consist of reconfiguring playground containers (both pre-K and elementary age) and replacing the play equipment. As the budget allows, additional amenities such as walkways, picnic tables, benches, lighting improvements, landscaping, drinking fountains, etc. would be prioritized and included. In all project areas one playground will be improved. This request includes play area improvements in 19 parks, three of which--those funded in 2027--have yet to be determined.

Purpose and Justification:

The play areas are recommended for improvement based on conditional analysis and age. Play area improvements will address acute safety and security concerns as well as meet the need to replace outdated and worn play equipment that does not meet current Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) standards.

Beginning in 2018, larger projects in neighborhood parks that may involve play areas are being consolidated into the PRKCP project or, if they have funding greater than $1,100,000, are being given their own projects. PRK02 will remain the project for stand-alone play area improvements.

Project Visuals and Map:

Typical outdated park playground (Kenny Park)

Project Cost Breakdown

Department Funding Request


Have Grants for this Project been secured?

No grants are associated with this project.

Describe status and timing details of secured or applied for grants or other non-City funding sources:

Not applicable.

Describe any collaborative arrangements with outside project partners, including who they are and what their role is with the project:

Not applicable.


State Law Chapter 462.356 (Subd. 2) requires review of all capital improvements for compliance with the comprehensive municipal plan. Chapter 13, Section 4 of the City Charter requires Location and Design Review for the purpose of approving the sale of bonds for these projects. Describe how the project is consistent with the adopted City/Park Board comprehensive plans and how the project implements goals and policies as stated in the adopted plans, including specific policy references:

Projects funded with these dollars are consistent with the following direction of the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board comprehensive plan:

Vision Statement: Dynamic parks that shape city character and meet diverse community needs.

Goal: Park facility renewal and development respects history and focuses on sustainability, accessibility, flexibility and beauty.

Strategy: Integrate sustainable practices, ecological design for landscapes, and green building techniques into new construction and renewal of all amenities, giving priority to those practices that meet or exceed established standards, improve ecological function, and minimize long-term maintenance and operating costs.

Strategy: Implement a sustainable, long-term renewal plan based on a complete inventory of the system, life-cycle cost analysis, and condition assessment of all park facilities.

Strategy: Build or renew facilities to meet or exceed standards for accessibility.

Relevant City of Minneapolis Comprehensive Plan Polices, from the Minneapolis 2040 Plan:

Policy 78 Park Design and Programming: Improve the design and programming of parks to better serve a changing population.

Policy 53 Quality of Life: Perpetuate a high quality of life for Minneapolitans that includes safe, open, and welcoming cultural and social institutions, as well as natural and built infrastructure. Especially applicable is Action Step 53c: Maintain and enhance the many built, historic, arts, and natural environmental assets throughout the city to promote and strengthen communities.

Policy 83 People with Disabilities: Ensure people with disabilities and their families are visible, active, and values members of the community. Especially applicable is Action Step 83h: Increase accessibility of public infrastructure and public amenities.

Provide the date that Location and Design Review was conducted for the project, the outcome of that analysis and the date formal action was taken by the Planning Commission:

Location and Design Review will take place in the spring of each funding year.

Economic Development

Will the project contribute to growth in the city’s tax base? No

Describe the economic development impact of the project:

Not applicable

Does the project support redevelopment opportunity that without the project would be infeasible?



Is the proposed project on an existing or planned transitway, transit route, or high-volume pedestrian corridor? If yes, provide details on how the project will improve the transit and/or pedestrian experience.

Varies. Generally, projects will not enhance the transit/pedestrian experience outside of parks.

Does the proposed project anticipate multi-modal enhancements (sidewalks, bicycle or transit facilities)? Provide details.

Sidewalks and park trails may be included in specific improvement areas.

Is the right-of-way constrained and do you anticipate that modes of travel will be competing for space? Provide details, is there potential for innovative design options? Provide details

All improvements take place within parks, not right-of-way.

Operating Impacts

Operations & Capital Asset Maintenance: Approx $8000/year per play area, depending on exact configuration of equipment and size of play area.

Is this request for new or existing infrastructure? Existing

What is the expected useful life of the project/Improvement? 20 years

Year that Operating Incr/(Decr) will take effect? Varies

What is the estimated annual operating cost increase or (decrease) for this project? Likely to be a slight decrease in operation for each play area rehabilitated, but system-wide negligible reductions.

Any Prior Year Remaining Bond Authorizations? Yes

Prior Year Remaining Bond Authorizations: $3,744,390

Describe how operating cost increases or decreases were determined and include details such as personnel costs, materials, contracts, energy savings, etc:

Older play areas tend to be difficult and expensive to maintain. They require inspections more frequently to ensure safety, along with more regular replacement of failed parts. Play area replacement actually decreases maintenance costs for that particular play area. However, cost savings across the system are not typically felt because other play areas are aging just as new ones come on line.

If new infrastructure, discuss how the department/agency will pay for the increased annual operating costs:

Not applicable.

For new infrastructure, describe the estimated timing and dollar amount of future capital investment required to realize the full expected useful life of the project:


Project Coordination

Describe completion status for ongoing projects and how and when the department/agency plans to use the prior year remaining bond authorizations:

The following is an update on unspent bond projects, relative to outstanding bonding presented last year. The list provides a status update on each project and an overview of amounts spent.

Folwell (2017 bonds): Project is complete and open to the public.

Cleveland Park (2018 bonds): Project is complete and open to the public.

Armatage (2019 bonds): Design is complete and primary construction contract awarded. Construction expected in 2021. Unspent bonds are $260,000.

Bryn Mawr (2019 bonds): Project has not yet initiated. This funding will be spent alongside the major fuinding at this park under PRK33. Unspent bonds are $291,900.

Farview (2019 bonds): Project is complete and open to the public.

Linden Hills (2019 bonds): Design is complete and primary construction contract is pending. Construction expected in 2021. Unspent bonds are $258,000.

Loring (2019 bonds): Community engagement is underway. Construction expected in fall of 2021. Unspent bonds are $350,000.

Bottineau (2020 bonds): Project not yet initiated. Unspent bonds are $306,495.

Cavell (2020 bonds--see below): Project not yet initiated. Unspent bonds are $306,500.

Kenny (2020 bonds): Design and community engagement underway. Construction expected fall of 2021. Unspent bonds are $300,000.

Lynnhurst (2020 bonds): Project was put on hold pending adoption of the Southwest Service Area Master Plan and Minnehaha Creek Master Plan, both of which affect the potential placement of a new play area. Both master plans are now adopted and the project will move forward shortly. Unspent bonds are $306,495.

Marcy (2020 bonds): Design and community engagement is complete. Construction fall of 2021. Unspent bonds are $270,000.

McRae (2020 bonds): Community engagement underway. Construction expected fall of 2021. Unspent bonds are $300,000

Northeast (2020 bonds--see below): Design and community engagement is ongoing, in coordination with Northeast Park athletic fields phase 2, described in PRK04. Construction expected in fall of 2021. Unspent bonds are $300,000.

Pearl (2020 bonds): Community engagement underway. Construction expected in fall of 2021. Unspent bonds are $245,000.

Van Cleve (2020 bonds--see below): Community engagement and design underway. Construction expected fall of 2021. Unspent bonds are $250,000.

In May of 2020, MPRB approved the "COVID Amendment" to its CIP, which shifted several projects between 2020 and 2021. Due to the challenges of community engagement during the pandemic, MPRB moved lower-level community engagement projects (like playgrounds, athletic fields, courts, and rehabilitation projects) into 2020 and more intense community engagement projects into 2021. Three projects in PRK02 originally planned for 2021 were moved to 2020: Cavell, Northeast, and Van Cleve. Therefore, MPRB is accounting here for unspent 2020 bonds for these projects.

If this is a new project, describe the major project phases and timing anticipated for completing the project:

Project scoping, including community engagement, typically initiates early in the funding year and continues for 6 to 8 months. Construction most likely takes place during the following spring and summer and, depending on the complexity of the project, can be completed by fall of that calendar year. Overall, a typical play area project can take two years from project initiation until the facility opens to the public, due in part to the robust community engagement process to design the playground.

Scalability/Funding Allocation Flexibility – discuss any flexibility to increase or decrease funding among the years in the five-year plan and the most that could be spent in a given year:

Moving funding from year to year will affect staff ability to implement projects. Delaying this project will invariably delay other park improvement projects called for in the CIP.

Minneapolis Goals and Strategic Direction

Minneapolis is a growing and vibrant world-class city with a flourishing economy and a pristine environment, where all people are safe, healthy and have equitable opportunities for success and happiness.Below is a description of how this project meets each of the City's Goals. Below is a description of how this project meets each of the City's Goals.

Below is a description of how this project meets each of the City's Goals.

Public Safety

Collaborative and community-inclusive strategies to ensure safety for all members of our community:

Construction projects in parks improve safety throughout Minneapolis’s parks, ensuring they are inviting and allow for healthful activities. This project will decommission outdated play facilities and replace them with new ones that meet current safety and accessibility standards and expectations.


The City prioritizes equitable access to safe, stable, accessible, and affordable housing to eliminate racial disparities in housing:

Park improvements relate to housing in that they are sometimes identified as a gentrifying force in neighborhoods. The alternative, however, of not improving parks would do a disservice to those that use them. MPRB is committed to working with the City to identify and address potential park-related gentrification and displacement, in order to contribute to stable neighborhoods with excellent park service.

Economic Development

The City prioritizes economic inclusion so that all workers and families are supported and People of Color, Indigenous and Immigrant (POCII)-owned businesses in all sectors can thrive.

Quality of life is a critical aspect in a business's decision to relocate to, remain in, or expand in Minneapolis. City residents consistently rate parks as having extremely high importance to their quality of life. Therefore, park renewal to maintain quality and incorporate desired amenities can contribute significantly to business retention and recruitment, including among under-represented groups.

Public Services

The City prioritizes reliable and equitable access to high-quality public services.

Though semi-autonomous, MPRB strives for the same efficiency, transparency, and responsibility as stated in the City's goal. MPRB follows the City's purchasing procedures to ensure fair selection of services and detailed in-house project-by-project accounting ensures each project has a carefully managed budget. MPRB involves the public extensively in the scoping and design of park projects and provides detailed and extensive notifications during construction.

Environmental Justice:

The City prioritizes sustainable practices and renewable resources to equitably address climate change while restoring and protecting our soil, water and air.

All park projects are executed with an eye to facility longevity and sustainability. MPRB strives to improve environmental performance and reduce waste with every construction project. Facility renewal and implementation of new amenities are important in meeting current and future needs for park infrastructure, which is a critical aspect of the city.

Built Environment & Transportation:

The City prioritizes high quality neighborhoods, streets, infrastructure and equitable access to multimodal transportation in all parts of the City through thoughtful planning and design.

Ensuring high quality parks communicates investment in people’s lives, no matter where they come from. In many cases, neighborhoods are physically and socially centered on their parks. Improving the park will improve the neighborhood.

Public Health:

The City Prioritizes positive youth development so that all children can grow healthy and safe:

Improving park facilities and adding desired amenities can increase health and quality of life for neighborhood residents of every age, ability level, economic status, race, ethnicity, and national origin. Play areas are some of the most heavily used facilities in parks, and offer challenge and risk while increasing strength, agility, fitness, and cooperation among children. Getting outdoors to climb, slide, run, hang, and swing leads children to healthier lives and builds healthier habits.

Arts and Culture:

The City prioritizes arts and culture as important part of inclusive economic development and placemaking in our communities:

MPRB seeks to incorporate the arts into projects when it can, by partnering with the City of Minneapolis’s public art program. Even without the specific inclusion of art in park improvements, however, creative and inspiring design is a key part of the park improvement process.

Additional Information

The following is a list of play area projects included in PRK02, with funding sources and years. Note that other stand-alone projects may also include play area renovation as part of a larger project. Also note a general shift to using Net Debt Bonds for these playground rehabilitation projects. The main reason for this is the source shift within the MPRB CIP to funding the Replace & Invest Contingency (under PRKCP) with Capital Levy. See PRKCP for more information.


Riverside Park: $338,000 Net Debt Bonds

Audubon Park: $338,000 Net Debt Bonds

Lake Hiawatha Park: $338,000 Net Debt Bonds


Stewart Park: $355,000 Net Debt Bonds

Willard Park: $355,000 Net Debt Bonds

Currie Park: $355,000 Net Debt Bonds

North Commons Park: $355,000 Capital Levy


Todd Park: $322,000 Net Debt Bonds and $69,000 Capital Levy

Cedar Avenue Field Park: $390,000 Net Debt Bonds

Harrison Park: $390,000 Capital Levy


Franklin Steele Park: $425,000 Net Debt Bonds

East Phillips Park: $425,000 Net Debt Bonds

Hiawatha School Park: $425,000 Capital Levy


Elliott Park: $450,000 Net Debt Bonds

Logan Park: $450,000 Net Debt Bonds

Lovell Square Park: $450,000 Net Debt Bonds


MPRB has not yet adopted a 2027 CIP. The current MPRB 6-year CIP includes the 2021 through 2026 years. For the purposes of this request, MPRB is estimating there will be three PRK02 sites in the 2027 year, all funded with Net Debt Bonds, at a cost of $475,000 each for a total of $1,425,000.