It's time to put the kids first in our parks. We can do this by giving the kids of Minneapolis a safe, fun, supervised place to play. I’d like to see neighborhood parks filled with coaches, teachers, mentors, artists, and chefs, all participating in enriching kids lives. Marshal Terrace Park, Corcoran Park, Fairview Park, Folwell Park, Peavey Park, Logan Park and East Phillip’s Park, and many more all surrounded by families that need opportunities for their kids to play in a safe, mentoring environment. Low income areas of town are the priority for implementation recognizing that wealth affords recreation opportunities both in and outside the park system that can't be afforded by low income families.
Sounds great, but how are we gonna pay for it? This and every other road in government eventually lead back to the budget. If we want fully staffed neighborhood parks we’re going to have to have a full, robust discussion around equity in our park budget. Equity is more than just a nice word, equity means growing access to resources for folks who don’t have resources. There may be areas where we could redirect budget, we hire a lot of consultants, we dole out a number of single bid contracts, I believe we have more than enough deputy superintendent positions, these are a few potential areas where we could find some money to put the kids first. It won’t be easy, nothing worth doing is.
Our parks are a public health creating resource. They calm us, they inspire us, they give us fresh air and a space to exercise and connect. I want to see us unleash the amazing power of our park system on the biggest problems that we face as a city including race and income related health disparities. When we prioritize staffing of neighborhood park buildings and facilities with a focus on low income neighborhoods first, we’ll be putting the kids first and growing more equitable, people powered parks!