Park Board launches park dedication tool

The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board has unveiled a new tool to track park dedication dollars across the city.

The tool, available online, maps money the board is collecting through a new park dedication fee assessed from development projects, similar to fees collected in park systems nationwide. 

Adam Arvidson, the board’s director of strategic planning, said they’ve collected approximately $1.7 million since January 2014 when the fees went into effect. He said the map is meant to increase transparency and be used as an internal tool for park staff. 

“We want to be able to show our community how we’re stewarding this money,” he said.

The map shows where construction permits have been issued, the amount raised by a project and the funds available within a neighborhood.

Four neighborhoods have seen allocations: Near North, Folwell, Seward and Bryant. The board used the park dedication dollars to enhance three playgrounds and one wading pool. 

The board must allocate the funds within the neighborhood of the development project, so rather than a lump sum, the funds are split across the city’s 81 neighborhoods. The board can only spend dedication dollars on land acquisition, new recreation facilities, or expanded amenities.

Because the fee is meant to create park facilities to meet the growing demand from new residents, the board cannot allocate funds to maintain or rehabilitate park facilities.

The Park Board may also accept private land dedicated to public use in lieu of fees. The board waived about $62,000 in fees last year for a public connection between 2nd Street and the Mississippi River near where it plans to build a future riverfront park. The project, which includes a curbless shared street or “woonerf,” is the first to dedicate land in lieu of the fee.