DID: Ill meet you in the park

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May 6, 2011
By: Sarah harris
Sarah harris
There is nothing better than basking in the sun for a few moments on a really busy day.

It is also energizing when I unexpectedly run into someone, providing a moment to catch up on business, families and mutual interests (usually about a must-see show, book to read or great place to eat). These experiences instantly connect us to the community that we call home. What a gift.   

With spring here, we Downtowners will increasingly spend a few spare moments — or a long lunch — or an evening retreat — in many of the wonderful park spaces in Downtown. Beyond our Minneapolitan love of outdoors, gathering spaces Downtown provide an added element: they soften the experience of being in a densely built, high-energy Downtown. These places to sit, to greet, to read, to enjoy nature, reconnect us as a community.    

Downtown has a variety of park spaces. They can be contemplative or active, large or small, but they all create an important rhythm of spaces — a pleasant walk through the city punctuated by wonderful places to take pause.   

In January, DID recognized two very different, but equally great examples of Downtown parks in our 2010 greening awards program: Cancer Survivor’s Park (Best Park, Large Scale, by FRM Associates) and Assisi on 9th (Best Park, Small Scale, by St. Olaf Catholic Church). Both parks offer lush and green opportunities to rest, meet someone and connect to Downtown.

We hope other property owners will follow this example by greening their spaces — pocket gardens and parks are fabulous where space allows — but simple planters and hanging baskets can also make a huge difference in making Downtown feel welcoming and enjoyable. What can you do at your property?  Perhaps we can brainstorm about it when I meet you in the park!

Sarah Harris is the Chief Operating Officer of the Minneapolis Downtown Improvement District, a nonprofit organization dedicated to making Downtown a clean, safe, green, and vibrant place to be. Follow the (DID) on Twitter @MinneapolisDID.