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News & Developments

Park Board Planning to Block Greenway from Becoming a Regional Trail

UPDATE:  WE DID IT!   Park Board Commissioners reversed themselves and PASSED a resolution to continue the Midtown Greenway Master Plan!  This is thanks to ALL of the calls and e-mails they received, as well as the front page story in the Star Tribune alerting the public of their intention to kill the plan and block the Greenway from becoming a Regional Trail.

Now planning will continue.  Once the Park Board approves the plan it will go to the Met Council.  If they approve it, the Greenway will become a Regional Trail!  This will increase funding for the trail and support our efforts to extend it over the river.

Thanks to everyone who contacted their Park Board Commissioners!


Previous/older information:

UPDATE:  On June 21 the MPRB Planning Committee approved forwarding a new resolution to the full board. The resolution calls for the completion of the Midtown Greenway Master plan. (The lone NO vote was from Commissioner Elizabeth Shaffer, who appears to be against a Greenway Joint Powers Agreement with the other government agencies, even though one has not yet been created.)* 

We expect the full board will vote on the resoluition on July 5th.   If it passes, staff will complete the Greenway Master Plan.  If the plan is approved by the full MPRB board, the Greenway will become a Regional Trail (once approved by the Met Council.)

*The Joint Powers Agreement would outline what each agency (Hennepin County, City of Mpls, MPRB) agrees to do and how much funding they will allocate to manage the Greenway.  The only way MPRB Commissioners can make an informed decision is to actually read the Master Plan and proposed Joint Powers Agreement.  That can’t happen if they kill the Master Plan.  


At their upcoming meeting on May 24, Minneapolis Park Board Commissioners are planning to approve a resolution asking staff to stop working on the Midtown Greenway Master Plan.

UPDATE!  Park Board Commissioners postponed the vote on May 24.  They will now vote on a NEW resolution on June 21, asking staff to continue the plan!   

This means your calls and e-mails are working!  If you have not contacted your Park Board Commissioner, please do.  Let’s keep encouraging them to do the right thing and finish the Master Plan and allow the Greenway to become a Regional Trail!)

Stopping work on the Midtown Greenway Master Plan would effectively BLOCK the Greenway from becoming an official Regional Trail.

Without a Master Plan, approved by the Minneapolis Park & Rec Board (MPRB) and the Met Council, the Greenway cannot become an official Regional Trail.

Why were they planning to block the Master Plan?  They seem to have questions and concerns about the cost and their role in working with other agencies to manage the trail.  But those concerns are based only on conjecture at this point.  If they don’t complete the Master Plan and corresponding Interagency Operations Agreement, they cannot make an informed decision regarding the cost and the MPRB role in co-managing the Greenway with Hennepin County and the City of Minneapolis. 

One thing we do know is the MPRB would receive annual funding from the Met Council if the Midtown Greenway became a Regional Trail.  So approving the Master Plan would add funds to the MPRB budget.  They would be under no obligation to spend more funds than they receive.  In fact, they should just agree to make incremental capital improvements and leave everything else, including trail maintenance, to Hennepin County and the City of Minneapolis.

We also understand some Commissioners would prefer to pull planning staff from this project so they can work on other projects.

We have also seen wild guesses from Commissioners about the cost of the Master Plan, but those are not based on actual projected costs.  The Midtown Greenway is already complete, so it would likely be their least expensive master plan ever.  There is no reason to do extensive community engagement to find out if people would like better wayfinding signs and picnic benches.

In a front page story in the Star Tribune, Park Board planning staff say they have both the capacity and desire to complete their work on the Midtown Greenway Master Plan.  If Commissioners still vote to kill the plan, that will be a clear values statement about their priorities and support for the Midtown Greenway.   Star Tribune story.

If Commissioners do proceed to block the Greenway from becoming a Regional Trail, it will set back our efforts to Extend the Greenway over the river. Having the Greenway become an official Regional Trail -- with the MPRB and Met Council at the table -- would be a tremendous boost. Regional Trails connect to other Regional Trails on both sides of the river.

It also means the Greenway will continue to lack proper wayfinding signage and amenities that visitors to other public trails take for granted. There are no wayfinding kiosks with trail maps, no bathrooms, no picnic tables, and very few places to sit down. All of these things could eventually be added to the Greenway if it became an official Regional Trail.

In addition, canceling their work on the Midtown Greenway Master Plan would be a lost opportunity for the MPRB to increase Racial and Economic Equity in the MPRB system, because the Greenway travels through some of the most racially diverse and economically disadvantaged neighborhoods in Minneapolis. If they don't complete and approve the Master Plan, the Greenway will not become part of the MPRB system of parks and trails.

The Met Council has added the Midtown Greenway to their Regional Parks Policy Plan, saying it is eligible to become an official Regional Trail. Being an official Regional Trail would boost the Greenway's funding and status. However, only the MPRB can make it happen, by creating and approving a Master Plan for the Greenway.

Contact the Minneapolis Park Board Commissioners and tell them NOT to block the Midtown Greenway from becoming an official Regional Trail.

Tell them to direct staff to finish the Midtown Greenway Master Plan, so Park Board Commissioners can make an informed decision about whether they want the nation's BEST urban bike trail to be added to the nation's BEST urban park system - and for the Midtown Greenway to become an official Regional Trail, which it so clearly deserves to be.

How to contact Park Board Commissioners:


MORE INFO:  Our Letter to the Park Board Commissioners

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