PRK37 Powderhorn Park Implementation

Project Details:

Project Start Date: June 1, 2021

Ongoing Program: N

Submitting Department: Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board

Contact Person: Adam Arvidson

Level of Need: High

Estimated Project Completion Date: June 1, 2023

Department Priority: 5

Contact Phone Number: 612-230-6470


Project Location:

Address: 3400 15th Avenue South

City Sector: South

Affected Neighborhoods: Powderhorn Park

Affected Wards: 9

Project Description:

This project will implement a variety of recreational improvements at Powderhorn Park, as called for in the South Service Area Master Plan. The requested funding in 2022, to complement funding also requested in 2021, will implement phase two of the master plan. Previous funding requests under PRK02 and PRK03 allowed for the renovation of playgrounds and the wading pool as directed by the master plan—that was phase one of implementation. The exact improvements to be implemented under this phase two request are not currently known, because MPRB will involve the community in a scoping exercise to determine which of the master plan elements should be constructed.

The master plan calls for relatively modest changes at Powderhorn. People like the park how it is, generally speaking, with a few targeted improvements. Facilities envisioned in the master plan include continued refurbishment of play areas—including nature-based and adventure play zones—enhancements to the building and lakeshore gathering areas, a new small-scale premier soccer field, volleyball courts, and an additional basketball court. Future funding—likely including private or grant funds—will be necessary to implement a phase three project.

Powderhorn Park improvements have been separated into a new project because the total multi-year request is greater than $1,100,000. The scale of certain projects suggests they should be considered individually by CLIC.

Purpose and Justification:

Powderhorn Park phase two implementation is a project funded by the 20-year Neighborhood Parks and Streets Program. Under this program, MPRB has developed an empirical equity metric for ranking neighborhood parks based on community and park characteristics. A park’s score and resultant ranking determines when a park receives an allocation in MPRB’s CIP, while service area master plans determine what amenities are desired by the community and then implemented.

Powderhorn Park was included in the South Service Area Master Plan, adopted by MPRB in 2016. At that time, play area and pool improvements were already envisioned in the CIP and in previous CLIC requests. Powderhorn Park’s 2020 NPP20 ranking is #10. This high ranking coupled with the fact that a master plan is complete justifies advancement of phase two implementation at the park.

The exact facilities to be implemented will be determined through a participatory community process by which users and residents will help decide what is built in the park in phase one. This process will consider those elements included in the adopted master plan. It will also consider phasing logistics and feasibility, while ensuring that elements of the park are not decommissioned for long periods of time awaiting phase two. This scoping process is an important way to ensure continued community decision-making in park projects.

Project Visuals and Map:

Powderhorn Park Master Plan

Project Cost Breakdown

Department Funding Request


Have Grants for this Project been secured?

No grants will be 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 for this project will take place in the spring or summer of the 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.

The project is not adjacent to a transit route.

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

The Southside Greenway is envisioned o pass along the western edge of the park. Pending the implementation of that project, some work could be included in this project. Other internal park trails and sidewalks may be included.

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 will take place within park land, not right-of-way.

Operating Impacts

Operations & Capital Asset Maintenance: Dependent on exact facilities implemented

Is this request for new or existing infrastructure? Likely a cobination of existing and new

What is the expected useful life of the project/Improvement? 20-40 years, depending on facilities included in project

Year that Operating Incr/(Decr) will take effect? 2024

What is the estimated annual operating cost increase or (decrease) for this project? Unknown until project scoping

Any Prior Year Remaining Bond Authorizations? No

Prior Year Remaining Bond Authorizations: Not applicable

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

Increases in operating costs are possible depending on which amenities are implemented. Replacement and upgrades of existing facilities may have minimal operating cost increases, while larger elements like a new restroom building or sports dome will have significant increases. The South Service Area Master Plan included calculations on likely operations increases for each element included in the master plan. Once project scoping is complete, MPRB staff will consider likely cost increases and incorporate them into existing operations budgets or will address increases through MPRB’s annual budgeting process.

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

Through reallocation of existing resources or seeking new funding.

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:

Not applicable

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

Project scoping, including community engagement, will begin early in the first funding year (2021). Community engagement and design will take place throughout 2021 and into 2022. Depending on the determined scope of the project, construction would begin in either 2022 or 2023 and be complete within one year to 18 months.

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. They decommission outdated 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. Powderhorn Park is located in a neighborhood threatened with gentrification and displacement. The implementation of significant improvements there could raise fears of exacerbating that reality. Throughout the implementation process, ongoing coordination between MPRB and the City around housing and neighborhood stability will be critical.

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. Because the Powderhorn Park master plan was driven by community involvement, implementation of that plan will allow the public to recreate daily and in ways that meet each individual’s particular needs.

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. Most park master plans, including Powderhorn’s, call for reduction of turf grass and naturalized areas for pollinator habitat and air quality enhancement. Thjis is especially important at Powderhorn, which has an impaired though well-loved pond at its center. When major projects like this one are implemented, this is an opportunity to plant additional trees, convert lawn to more sustainable ground surface, and reconsider stormwater management on park sites. All of the options will be considered as aspects of the project.

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. Powderhorn is a major greenspace in a very dense and diverse area of town. It is one block from transit routes on Bloomington Avenue. Investing here communicates that the city values the racially and economically diverse upper south section of town.

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. Improvements at Powderhorn will create a wide diversity of recreational activities, but active and nature-based. The green environment and sheer size of Powderhorn Park allow this park to help limit mental and social stress through access to nature. Kids that grow up in this kind of environment, close to green space and water, are more likely to succeed

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. In addition, parks often sit at the cultural center of communities, whether people are visiting the park for an art class, participating in spontaneous cultural experiences, attending a cultural event, or simply interacting with peers from different backgrounds in the park. Powderhorn park is well known as a center of arts and culture in south Minneapolis, as host to May Day, art sled races, a major pottery studio, and other events and happenings. Improvements at Powderhorn will reinforce the value of this cultural space.

Additional Information

Funding sources for Powderhorn were shifted slightly for the purpose of balancing the overall MPRB CIP. All previously requested Powderhorn funding remains in the 2021 and 2022 years at the same total funding amount. There will be no project delay from this change. The following table documents the change:

Previous Requested

2021 Bonds $460,000 $432,000

2021 Cap Levy $0 $0

2022 Bonds $440,000 $468,000

2022 Cap Levy $200,000 $200,000

Total Bonds $900,000 $900,000

Total Cap Levy $200,000 $200,000

Total Project $1,100,000 $1,100,000