Local Businesses Contribute $7.5M To Downtown East Park
The Downtown East Commons park project reached $10.5 million in financial backing, fundraisers announced Tuesday, after contributions were secured from a number of well-known corporations in the Twin Cities.
Contribution totals for the project are nearing the halfway point of $22 million that Green Minneapolis, the nonprofit conservancy group set up to manage the park, set out to raise.
Target Corporation, Carlson and the Carlson Family Foundation, Land O’Lakes, Thrivent Financial, Veit USA and Xcel Energy pledged about $7.5 million to the project. The remaining $3 million is coming from the Minnesota Vikings.
Minneapolis mayor Betsy Hodges, who also co-chairs the Downtown East Commons Fundraising Committee, called the $10.5 million raised so far a significant milestone. “The generosity shown by all of our corporate partners today is indicative of the city’s desire to take advantage of this once-in-a-generation opportunity to transform a city block into a world-class green space,” she said in a statement.
With the latest round of financial support, Hodges said she feels “more confident that we will hit our fundraising goal.” Previously, concerns around maintenance demands, staffing, facilities and operating costs posed challenges for fundraisers.
To ensure the remaining $11.5 million needed for the project is identified, Vikings co-owner Mark Wilf said he would join the Downtown East Commons Fundraising Committee as its co-chair.
In a statement, Wilf said, “the Downtown East Commons will not only be an integral part of the Vikings game day experience but a place the community will enjoy throughout the year.”
The idea of a public green space was first revealed in May 2013 as part of Ryan Companies’ $400 million mixed-use development project in Downtown East. Being adjacent to the light rail, office and residential buildings and U.S. Bank Stadium, developers are looking to transform the space into a respite for nearby workers, as well as a neighborhood park and entertainment venue for the east end of downtown Minneapolis.