Project Start Date: January 1, 2024
Ongoing Program: N
Submitting Department: Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board
Contact Person: Adam Arvidson
Level of Need: High
Estimated Project Completion Date: December 31, 2025
Department Priority: 10
Contact Phone Number: 612-230-6470
Address: 1320 29th Ave. NE
City Sector: East
Affected Neighborhoods: Audubon Park
Affected Wards: 1
This project will implement a variety of recreational improvements at Audubon Park in northeast Minneapolis. The requested funding in 2024 and 2025 is for a single phase one implementation of the adopted master plan for the park. The exact improvements to be implemented are not currently known. MPRB has created a vision for the park through the East of the River Park Master Plan, and will next involve the community in a scoping exercise to determine which of the master plan elements should be constructed in this planned phase one. The master plan for Audubon Park preserves the wooded areas of the park while activating them with new uses like a dog park, disc golf course, and nature play circuit. Courts are expanded and enhanced and the ball diamond is converted into a multi-use field. The play and aquatics areas would see the most change, with the pool rebuilt to improve accessibility, the addition of a splash pad area and plaza gathering space, and a new universal playground. In all, Audubon would become a center of inclusive play in the city.
MPRB will begin this project with a participatory community process by which users and residents can help prioritize what is built in the park. The community process will consider which of those elements included in the adopted master plan should be built right away. The scoping process also will consider phasing logistics and feasibility, while ensuring that elements of the park are not decommissioned for long periods of time awaiting a future phase two. This scoping process is an important way to ensure continued community decision-making in park projects. It does mean, however, that this request is not specifically defined as to exactly what will be constructed. Requested funding would not move away from Audubon, but it could be used for a variety of recreational improvements, based on community input.
Purpose and Justification:
Audubon Park phase one 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.
Audubon Park’s 2020 NPP20 ranking is #39. This ranking coupled with the fact that a master plan is complete justifies advancement of phase one implementation at the park.
MPRB's adopted 2025 CIP year is considered a "normalization year," wherein additional funds are provided to certain parks, as previously discussed during the 2020 CLIC process. However, some parks were funded earlier than 2025, so that funding could be aligned in order to limit disruption and create efficiencies. It is for this reason that Audubon's 2024 request was increased and extended to 2025.
Project Visuals and Map:
Project Cost Breakdown
Department Funding Request
Have Grants for this Project been secured?
No grants will be included in this project
Describe status and timing details of secured or applied for grants or other non-City funding sources:
Describe any collaborative arrangements with outside project partners, including who they are and what their role is with the project:
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.
Will the project contribute to growth in the city’s tax base? No
Describe the economic development impact of the project:
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.
Does the proposed project anticipate multi-modal enhancements (sidewalks, bicycle or transit facilities)? Provide details.
Sidewalks and park trails may be included in the project
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 parkland, not right-of-way
Operations & Capital Asset Maintenance: Dependent on exact facilities implemented
Is this request for new or existing infrastructure? Likely a mix of new and existing facilities
What is the expected useful life of the project/Improvement? 20-40 years, depending on facilities
Year that Operating Incr/(Decr) will take effect? 2026
What is the estimated annual operating cost increase or (decrease) for this project? Dependent on facilities implemented
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 recreation center or sports dome will have significant increases. The East of the River Park Master Plan includes 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 additional 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:
Describe completion status for ongoing projects and how and when the department/agency plans to use the prior year remaining bond authorizations:
If this is a new project, describe the major project phases and timing anticipated for completing the project:
Project scoping, including community engagement, will initiate in 2024, once funding becomes available. The community engagement and design process will likely continue throughout 2024. Construction would likely begin in 2025 and, depending on the complexity of the project, could continue into 2026.
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.
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.
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.
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 Audubon 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.
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 Audubon's, call for reduction of turf grass and naturalized areas for pollinator habitat and air quality enhancement. 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.
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. The Audubon Park Master Plan calls for specific enhancements meant to provide inclusive play for youth of all abilities. The universally designed playground, refurbished ADA-accessible wading pool, gathering plaza, and splash play area create a complex of options that ensure all kids can play together in an exciting environment.
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.
In addition to this request, funding is also requested in 2022 for Audubon's playground. That PRK02 project is part of MPRB's playground rehabilitation program, which looks exclusively at facility condition and longevity.