Prospect Park considers park space along LRT

The space would help fight a deficit of parkland in the area.

by Keith Min

As plans for development along Metro Transit’s Green Line light rail move ahead, some hope that space is set aside for green spaces and parks. 
Now that the Green Line is more than one year old — and as plans for development along the line take shape — some hope to add a green space north of the Prospect Park Station. The idea is in the early stages of planning, but proponents say the inclusion of a park in any redevelopment plans for the Prospect Park area would be beneficial.   
“Park projects take quite some time to come to fruition,” said Jenna Fletcher, program director for the Trust for Public Land, a nonprofit conservation group. “But a lot of the partners are very excited about this idea of what we call a signature green space.”
A location for the park hasn’t been determined, said Haila Maze, Minneapolis’ city planner. She also said other questions like a design, how the park would be funded and who would maintain it haven’t been answered yet. 
“[Prospect Park is] trying to figure out if they can create some usable space in the heart of the Prospect Park Station area that residents and visitors to the area can use,” she said. “It seems like it’s getting there.” A good balance between green spaces and commercial development is important to residents in the area, Maze 
The push to scatter park space along the Green Line comes after a report by the Trust for Public Land last year found that 15 percent of Minneapolis and St. Paul is made up of green spaces, compared to less than 5 percent of the Green Line 
corridor, which runs east to west between the two cities’ downtowns.   
And with 17,000 additional households expected to pop up along the Green Line corridor, the report said the line’s lack of park space would increase without action. 
“It would be a major disservice to stop short of completing the 
necessary infrastructure — high quality open space in the neighborhoods along the corridor,” the report read. “Now is the time to ensure that parks and open space are built into the corridor; if we wait, we will miss the opportunities to embed great spaces.” 
David Frank, Minneapolis’ director of economic policy and development, said the addition of parks in the area would have a positive impact on area businesses and quality of life. 
“Greening the area near Prospect Pak will be positive enhancement for existing residents and businesses — including the University of Minnesota — as well as the many new residents and businesses who have yet to arrive.”