On April 1, 2020, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) will officially assume operations at The Commons, the 4.2-acre park in downtown Minneapolis at 4th Street South and Portland Avenue. Green Minneapolis, a non-profit conservancy, has operated The Commons through an agreement with MPRB since May 2019, and before that with the City of Minneapolis.
Park operations include ongoing maintenance such as lawn and garden care and trash removal, security, and public programming. The change in operations results from a Minnesota Court of Appeals ruling on January 20, 2020, which upheld a 2019 Hennepin County ruling that prohibits the City from operating and managing a park.
“The Commons is a vibrant community asset, and we’re committed to keeping it that way,” said MPRB Superintendent Al Bangoura. “As MPRB assumes operations, our staff will provide service levels comparable to those used at Loring Park, the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden and other MPRB parks in and around downtown.”
In the time that Green Minneapolis has operated The Commons, the park welcomed more than 500,000 dedicated visitors annually and featured more than. 150 free public programs.
“The MPRB appreciates the work that Green Minneapolis has put into The Commons,” said Board President Jono Cowgill. “Going forward, the park will continue to be an attractive destination for Minneapolis residents, downtown workers and visitors. I’m confident that Superintendent Bangoura and MPRB staff will develop a balance in assuming responsibilities at The Commons that allows us to uphold the MPRB mission and maintain delivery of core services throughout the entire park system.”
Green Minneapolis will continue its management and operations at Peavey Plaza and other downtown sites, along with its stewardship of street trees downtown.
Public Impacts at The Commons as of April 1
Hours: The Commons will be open from 6 a.m. to midnight, per Ordinance PB-2-33 for MPRB parks in developed areas.
Security: The Minneapolis Park Police Department will patrol at The Commons from 7 a.m. to 1 a.m. as part of its operations at all MPRB parks in the downtown area. Between 1 a.m. and 7 a.m., the Minneapolis Police Department will deploy officers as requested through 911.
Programming and activities: MPRB will share plans at a later date.
2014: The City of Minneapolis acquires land for The Commons through the Ryan Companies, which built the park as part of the U.S. Bank Stadium project for the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority.
Summer 2016: The Commons opens as a 4.2-acre park managed and operated by Green Minneapolis through an agreement with the City of Minneapolis. As a non-profit conservancy, Green Minneapolis raises funds to support the park’s annual budget.
2017: The City conveys ownership of the park’s land to the MPRB, which in turn leases it to the City.
2019: A Hennepin County ruling requires MPRB to operate the park beginning on May 1. MPRB contracts with Green Minneapolis to continue operations at The Commons. The County’s ruling is challenged at the Minnesota Court of Appeals. MPRB partners with Green Minneapolis in summer programming at The Commons.
January 2020: The Minnesota Court of Appeals upholds the ruling for MPRB to assume operations at The Commons.
April 1, 2020: Operations at The Commons transfers from Green Minneapolis to the MPRB.