Equal Access to Parks
Every person in Minneapolis — especially our children — deserve equal access to our wonderful parks. I have spent much of my time with my younger siblings in parks and they deserve the same access to parks as anyone else in Minneapolis. I have fought and will continue to fight for this right as Park Board Commissioner.
Equal access also means expanding multi-lingual signage in our parks so that people that don’t speak English can also use them.That especially goes for parks in Cedar-Riverside and the Phillips Community, where these signs are extremely important.
Since working on the Mashkiiki Community Garden and seeing its success, I have wanted to expand community gardens in Minneapolis. Having a community garden located next to or in every park in Minneapolis would give children in every neighborhood access to programs to learn how to grow healthy food. I want District 3 to serve as the pilot program for this initiative and we will be an example for the rest of Minneapolis and the country how successful community gardens can be.
Here in Minneapolis, we are losing many of our ash trees to emerald ash-borer — an insect that destroys these trees. Currently, over one-fifth (over 40,000 out of 200,000) of the trees that the Park Board cares for are ash trees, most of which will eventually succumb to the emerald ash-borer. We must do what we can to protect the healthy trees, but I will also support the Park Board’s efforts to replace diseased trees with other species as a way to slow the bug. Additionally, I will ensure that 100 new trees are planted in District 3, both to replace the trees lost and also expand the natural beauty of our parks.
Our parks are one of the best places for communities, neighborhoods, and friends and family to come together and spent time with one another. I want to encourage this as Park Commissioner with the expansion of after school programs and as well as creating additional recreational opportunities for elderly residents.
I believe that there is a fixable gap between our community and the Park Police. I want to work to bridge that gap to continue to make our parks a more welcoming space for those who use them. Part of this effort will involve more inclusivity and diversity training for Park Police officers.
The Park Board must also do a better job listening to what the community wants. I want to hold regular community town halls for park-goers and members of the community to come together and express what they want to see out of their parks. Park Commissioners, maintenance, engineering, and environmental experts, and the Parks Superintendent will be invited to meetings.