MINNEAPOLIS - Keeping a cap on youth violence in Minneapolis during the summer months is a challenge that requires solid resolve, resources and creative thinking,
A new program to be announced Monday has all of them. The citywide partnership with the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board aims to reduce and prevent youth violence by providing teens with pro-social activities through a series of "pop-up parks." Beginning June 16 these temporary parks will appear from 4-9 pm, six days a week – Monday thru Saturday – for a stretch of eight weeks. Pop-up parks will appear in a variety of locations, including existing parks, business parking lots and will also be a creative way to use vacant lots. They will include tents, food, games, and music, with some of the parks featuring art or other interactive activities.
This new partnership is intended to mobilize the city around public safety and to encourage young people to enjoy safe, pro-social activities. Pop-up parks have a number of goals:
1) Interrupt and prevent crime
2) Engage youth ages 12-17 with opportunities for pro-social engagement
3) Encourage community members to come out of their homes, meet their neighbors and get to know another
"I am so happy to have this partnership with the City and the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board," said Mayor Betsy Hodges, who will officially take the wraps off the new program Monday night. "This is the type of collaboration we need to stop crime before it even begins. Pop-up parks will connect kids across the City to caring adults and provide safe social environments to teens that want pro-social activities but otherwise don't have access to them."
Of the 48 pop-up parks, a majority will be set up in North Minneapolis. This commitment is part of the Northside Safety Summit, in an effort to work in partnership with the Minneapolis Police Department and Park Police Department to combat crime in the areas that need special attention.
The first pop-up park will happen at Penn and Golden Valley Road, which MPD has identified as a top crime hotspot.