Park near Vikings stadium could open this summer

Rendering of plan for the Downtown East Commons
A rendering of the plan for the Downtown East Commons, released by the Minneapolis officials on Friday.
Courtesy of the city of Minneapolis

The Minneapolis City Council is laying the groundwork to open the new Downtown East Commons park this summer.

The council will consider an initial contract to run the park and tee it up for a first-of-its-kind public space in Minnesota, just west of the new Vikings stadium.

The space comprises two blocks between Park and 5th avenues in downtown Minneapolis near the U.S. Bank stadium plaza.

Plans call for the space to be mostly open, grassy space, although a restaurant or cafe could go there, as well as a service building for the park. But the principal feature is going to be a giant oval Great Lawn on the block where the old Star Tribune building used to sit.

The Minneapolis City Council's Ways and Means committee is taking up a contract on Monday with the Downtown Council to open the park and manage it through this year.

It's not clear if the park will be available for the grand opening of the Vikings stadium on July 23. It depends on factors like weather and construction going forward.

Then at some point, the city and the park board will take over, and Minneapolis will ask a new nonprofit, Green Minneapolis, to run it.

Green Minneapolis will essentially act as a conservancy, maintaining the park, handling the scheduling and maybe offering some programming there — and the Vikings will have rights to at least part of the space on home game days.

Use the audio player above to hear more on the park from MPR News reporter Tim Nelson.

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