Park Board will hold town hall meetings to get feedback from residents for comprehensive plan

The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) is planning six town-hall style meetings in September to find out what residents think about the city's park system.

The meetings will kick off MPRB's efforts to gather information from the community as it begins working on its long-term comprehensive plan for the park system. The MPRB wants to know what the community values about the park system, what it sees as its strengths, and how it can best serve the public's park and recreation needs. The six public forums will be held:

- 11 a.m.-1 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 16, Folwell Park Community Center, 1615 Dowling Ave. N.

- 6:30-8:30 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 19, Van Cleve Park Community Center, 901 15th Ave. SE

- 6:30-8:30 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 21, Powderhorn Park Community Center, 3400 15th Ave. S.

- 11 a.m.-1 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 23, Lynnhurst Park Community Center, 1345 W. Minnehaha Pkwy.

- 6:30-8:30 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 26, Whittier Park Community Center, 425 W. 26th St.

- 11 a.m.-1 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 30, Nokomis Park Community Center, 2401 E. Minnehaha Pkwy.

In addition to the six meetings, MPRB will also gather information from the community through questionnaires, focus groups, a phone survey and community leader workshops. The information collected will help define the Park Board's long-term comprehensive plan, which is scheduled for completion by late 2007. The plan will &#8220define priorities for the allocation of resources and delivery of services to create a park system alert to the needs of the community and integral to a thriving city,” according to a statement from the MPRB.

The questionnaire can be found online at www.minneapolisparks.org and at all 49 MPRB recreation centers from Sept. 15-Oct. 15. In early September, all Minneapolis residents will be mailed an informational map about the park system that features the questionnaire and town meeting dates.

Once the town meetings are over, MPRB will conduct focus groups. These will include a wide variety of groups, particularly those that experience language, cultural or physical barriers to traditional community participation formats. The nine Park Board commissioners will also each appoint three people to participate in a series of community leadership workshops this fall. Residents interested in being considered for an appointment to the community leader group may submit an application by Wednesday, Aug. 16. Applications are available at www.minneapolisparks.org or by calling 612-230-6400.

A phone survey will also be conducted in November using some of the common themes residents identify in the meetings, questionnaires, focus groups and community leadership workshops.

Residents can hear a recorded message about all of these public input opportunities by calling the comprehensive plan hotline at 612-230-6597.