The Playground Today
One result of all the moving around, closing, renting to charter schools, over the past ten or twelve years is the Lincoln Park playground has slipped into a deplorable state of repairs. The site is surrounded by ragged and unattractive chain-link fencing. Weeds grow everywhere along the fence, which in turn snags plastic bags, water bottles and other detritus. Broken glass is common.
The message to our community is, “You don’t matter.”
The message to our neighborhood children, “You deserve nothing better.”
Year upon year the weight of these understandings accumulates, takes its toll on our community. Even to those driving through the our neighborhood begin to hear, “See, the media-driven image you hold of North Minneapolis is true…a completely throwaway neighborhood.”
We want to make a difference
This is not acceptable. Not to residents. Not to the children attending Lincoln School. Not to those who live in the neighborhood. Not the several local service organization directors who would make regular use of the playground – providing their own supervising staff – were it a safer and more attractive site. At this point they all agreed, if anyone is going to take on this issue and complete this project in a way everyone can be proud of, it would have to be the neighborhood. NRRC agreed to take the lead in developing this project at this point.
We see great potential in the site, as much more than a rehabilitated playground. We believe the presence of geothermal wells makes the site a unique opportunity for education about water use, retention and conservation – both for the school children at Lincoln and for the community at large. More than a playground, it can become a focal point for resurrecting and maintaining pride and spirit in our neighbors and our children.
We have been meeting for several months with this serious intent. We have gathered together a number of partners and committed stakeholders. We are ready to build a strong, visionary, comprehensive plan for transforming the site into a jewel for our community.