Union Park will be getting a new park! The City has confirmed that it now owns three vacant parcels along Griggs Street across from Skyline Tower and they will be converted into a five-acre park.
In total, the land cost $2.5 million. The Trust for Public Land bought the final parcel with private funds, and donated it to the city. The other two parcels were purchased with a combination of private and funds and money from the City’s 8 80 Vitality Fund.
According to a green space assessment, just 2.3 percent of the area is dedicated to parkland, although parks make up an average of 15 percent of St. Paul. The new park will be within a ten-minute walk of more than 2,600 residents – including the residents of Skyline Tower, who are largely East African immigrants.
Skyline residents, along with other community partners including Union Park, Gordon Parks High School and the Lexington-Hamline Community Council, have been working for years on this effort. A few years ago, residents of Skyline brought St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman up to the 24th floor of the building to look out on the surrounding storefronts, restaurants, the Green Line light rail route, lots of parking lots – and no green space.
While the community will now undoubtedly get that much needed green space, it will take some time to raise funds to develop it, and to design and build it. Union Park will be working with the Trust for Public Land to engage residents on visioning for the park, and with the City on its development. The park is still in the fundraising stage and will hopefully be developed in 2019.
If you would like to be involved in the citizen design advisory committee which will influence the ultimate plan for the future park, reach out to Liz Hixon (Liz.Hixson@ci.stpaul.mn.us).
Naming the park
At our board meeting on January 3 the community heard a presentation about the voting process to select the name for the future park at Griggs. The presentation outlined the top names that came out of the balloting at each location. After the presentation, our Board vote unanimously to endorse Peace as a possible name. Then the board voted to also reccommend Unity which received the second highest number of votes. Midway received the third highest amount of votes. On March 8, the Saint Paul Parks and Recreation Commission voted to make the name Midway Peace Park, recognizing the common geographic name for the area as well as the inspirational word peace. On March 21 Saint Paul City Council will decide whether or not to endorse Midway Peace Park as the name for the future park.
512 people cast their ballot for their favorite two names from the final selection of five:
People think of the word "Peace" as being inspirational, calming, and a way to bring people together across cultures.
“It is universal...We need it to live our lives. It makes everything better.”
Midway is a popular name for the area. For many, it fosters a strong sense of belonging and pride.
“I am Midway proud. I’ve lived here my whole life and it is the name of this area.”
Many people want the park to celebrate the diversity of the area through art. The word "Mosaic" reflects both the mosaic of cultures in the area and inspires art for the space.
“It is about coming together to form something beautiful...It celebrates our diversity.”
"Tiwahe" is the Dakota word for immediate family -- the people you are dwelling with. This name honors the Daktoa people who first inhabited the area.
“It is about people coming together...I like the idea of a Native American name because they need more representation.”
"Unity Park" represents coming together across cultures into one community.
“Because it is everyone's park and we all need a place to come together… It is diverse, neutral, universal, and for the community.”
Here are two articles on the future park: