SAINT PAUL, Minn., Feb. 10, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The third and final property near Griggs Street and University Avenue in Saint Paul has been purchased and secured for a new nearly 5-acre park in the Midway neighborhood, The Trust for Public Land and the City of Saint Paul announced today. This yet-to-be-named park is part of the city's long-term vision to create vibrant outdoor gathering spaces that strengthen community connections along the Green Line. Saint Paul is ranked first, along with Minneapolis, for the best park system in the country, according to The Trust for Public Land's ParkScore® index.
"It is a rare opportunity to be able to create such a large, vibrant green space in an urban area," said Saint Paul Mayor Chris Coleman. "We are thrilled that our collaboration with The Trust for Public Land will allow us to establish a community gathering space along the Green Line."
The Trust for Public Land acquired the parcel with private funds and donated it to the City. The other two parcels were acquired with a combination of the city's 8-80 Vitality Funds and private funds. The owners of the three parcels also discounted the sales price in light of the land's future use as a park. The park is located in one of the few remaining Saint Paul neighborhoods where an accessible neighborhood park is not within a 10-minute walk for residents.
"Our vision is for everyone to have a park within a 10-minute walk of their home," said Susan Schmidt, Minnesota state director for The Trust for Public Land. "The park at Griggs Street will make an immediate and lasting impact on this community. We have a lot of work to do, and look forward to helping the community and the city design and build the new park."
Over the next couple of years, The Trust for Public Land will lead creative community engagement to bring together park stakeholders and raise funds to develop the park. The park will both serve as a destination along the Green Line, which has few parks along its route; and as an important local park for the neighborhood, the Gordon Parks High School community, and residents of the adjacent Skyline Tower, a Commonbond Communities property.
Currently referred to as the "park at Griggs," the park will be named during the community planning process. Residents of Skyline Tower have long-sought community green space and teachers from nearby Gordon Parks High School have incorporated elements of civic engagement related to parks into their innovative curriculum. A creative community engagement process will help bring these park stakeholders together with others including Union Park District Council, the Lexington-Hamline Neighborhood Association, Wilder Foundation, and others.
"This new city park represents equitable development because it will increase the amount of parkland in an area that has been recognized as park-deficient. This diverse community is excited as neighbors have been patiently waiting for a park for many years. Now, we must ensure our diverse community has a place at the table in shaping this park," said Dai Thao, Saint Paul City Councilmember - Ward One.
2.3 percent of the Midway neighborhood is dedicated to parkland, well below Saint Paul's 15 percent city-wide average. This future park at Griggs Street will be within a 10-minute walk of more than 2,600 residents, of which 30 percent are children and 9 percent are seniors. The park will also be accessible to Green Line transit users, Griggs bikeway users, and visitors to nearby health clinics. As The Trust for Public Land detailed in its report, Greening the Green Line, park development along the Green Line LRT is critical for increasing the parkland per resident deficit, especially as the corridor neighborhoods grow.
About The Trust for Public Land
The Trust for Public Land creates parks and protects land for people, ensuring healthy, livable communities for generations to come. Nearly seven million people live within a ten-minute walk of a Trust for Public Land park, garden, or natural area, and millions more visit these sites every year. To share your story or learn more, visit www.tpl.org.
About Saint Paul Parks and Recreation
Saint Paul Parks and Recreation, The Trust for Public Land's 2015 #1 Park System in America, is a nationally accredited and gold medal award-winning organization that manages over 170 parks and open spaces, AZA-accredited Como Park Zoo and Conservatory, 25 city-operated recreation centers, more than 100 miles of trails, an indoor and two outdoor aquatic facilities, a public beach, a variety of premium sports facilities, municipal golf courses, and Great River Passage – which is the new identity for all proposed public development along Saint Paul's more than 17 miles of Mississippi riverfront. For more information on Saint Paul Parks and Recreation, visit www.stpaul.gov/parks.
SOURCE The Trust For Public Land