mpls: Fair Oaks Park, a.k.a. Don't Go There!

Considering all the capitol investment surrounding Fair Oaks Park -- the MIA, CTC, Hennepin Cty. History Museum, MCAD -- the park is in surprisingly rough shape. Last year I was at a Whittier NRP meeting where a group of youth workers presented the results from a "kid survey" of things to do in the Whittier neighborhood. The kids made a map of the neighborhood, with all the spots where they could go to do things, have fun, and hang out.

Fair Oaks Park was marked with a big skull and crossbones.

The Downtown Journal has a story this week about a community non-profit that's sprouting up to try and reclaim the park from the drug-addled vagrants who make it their home. (Partly, the area's roughness is because of the Steven's Church soup kitchen nearby, and the Peace House a few blocks away. Where are these people supposed to go?)

The story doesn't give many specifics. There's mention of some superficial investments in making the park more appealing by adding a footbridge and a pond. But apparently they want to add lighting and video cameras -- which would scare the bejeezus out of Fair Oaks vagabonds.

Working with the city, the nonprofit hopes to increase legal use of the park and push out crime through such measures as increased lighting and high-tech surveillance.

The Park Board already has in place a foundation for Fair Oaks and a master plan for improvements. Whittlef has contacted both the Park Board and the Park Police about the nonprofit’s plans and hopes to build the necessary partnership with the city, neighborhood institutions, residents and donors to implement these and other changes.


This looks like a dig at the Park Board. It's certainly true that they aren't known for working well with with the community . . .

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