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North Commons Park to undergo $21 million renovation

The park renovation has been in the works for nine years, and project leaders say construction could start within the year.

MINNEAPOLIS — North Commons Park, one of the largest parks in Minneapolis, is a staple of the north Minneapolis community. 

It's been the site of community gatherings, basketball games, football games, and everything in between. But community leaders say the park could be so much more.

"The park was dated, and quite honestly, useless during a large part of the year, especially during the winter," said Brett Buckner, a coordinator at Seeds to Harvest Coalition 

Buckner says community leaders want the park to compete with any community facility across Minnesota. So they came up with a plan to renovate it. The price tag? $21 million.

There will be a new:

1. Community Center

2. Field House

3. Aquatic Center

4. Fields

5. Refrigerated Ice Skating Rink

6. Amphitheatre

And those are just the improvements coming through phase one. Other parts of the park, such as the playground equipment, tennis courts, and walkways, will still need to be upgraded down the line. Project leaders say those upgrades will cost less than a couple of million dollars.

Buckner says kids and families haven't been able to use the amazing property they have right in their backyard.

"Kids have to go everywhere else to participate at high levels and with high-quality facilities. When you ask parents and educators and coaches and even the kids how they feel about having to go out to other places, they're disappointed," said Buckner. 

That disappointment won't last for long. Project leaders estimate the new park will be complete in three and a half years or less.

And the kids aren't the only ones to benefit from this project; the entire community will. Project leaders say they'll be hiring local designers, construction workers and other professionals.

"What we're trying to do very simply is this: Create this energy and this engine to really have north Minneapolis become an equitable partner in this thing called Minnesota through its activities, and this is a great start," said Buckner.

Project leaders say construction could start within the year.

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