Families who live in the Minneapolis area and those who come to visit can enjoy spending time at Peavey Plaza. A recent $10 million revitalization project has made the space more welcoming to everyone, including those who have mobility challenges. The process wasn’t easy, and it required legal action before it could be completed.
The pool that stands in the middle of the plaza features beautiful fountains, but this part of the space proved to be very limiting for some. It wasn’t the only area that presented challenges for those with limited mobility. The original design was developed 15 years prior to the Americans with Disabilities Act becoming law, and some improvements had been made to increase the usability by all.
The drop off into the pool was 10 inches before the project, and getting into it was discouraged with “Keep Out” signs. Now, that huge space is being fully used thanks to the raising of the floor so the water is only ¼-inch deep. There is no longer a barrier for everyone to enjoy the water. Some go in with their shoes on and others take them off. Either way, it is just what the design firm had in mind when they developed the plans for the project.
Besides revamping the pool area, the infrastructure was put into place for an ice skating rink during the winter months. While it likely won’t happen in the 2019 winter, it is something that everyone can look forward to in the future.
The plaza, which is officially listed in the National Register of Historic Places, is a largely environmentally-friendly area. When the project began, there were around 50 trees still standing. Of those, 23 had to be cut down because they were unhealthy. As part of the project, 33 large trees were planted to replace them. These had to be brought in with cranes.
The project almost didn’t happen. The Cultural Landscape Foundation and the Preservation Alliance of Minnesota opted to sue the city to put a halt to the original plans. This led to alternate plans being implemented. The newer plan meets the Standards for Rehabilitation set forth by the Secretary of the Interior. Burns & Hansen, P.A., proudly offered legal guidance during this process.
Next time you visit Peavey Plaza, take note of the harmonious way that the revitalization comes together with the natural elements to create a calming feeling. This is only possible because of the teamwork that happened to get these new plans in place and because of the generous donors that came together.