BEST PUBLIC PARK Minneapolis 2002 - Powderhorn Park
Ira Glass, of public radio's This American Life, dedicated several programs to a common human subgenus: do-gooders. More specifically, "Stories of people who try to do good: Why they often fail and why they occasionally succeed." One might say Mr. Glass could have made a good case study of the Powderhorn Park Neighborhood Association. Known for its vigilant neighborhood-watch groups and its campaigns to clean up "johns," this organization is seen by some as heroes reclaiming a crime-ridden neighborhood; and by others as annoying NIMBYs (Not In My Back Yard), or simply as former hippies hell-bent on gentrification. Perhaps it's this fault line in neighborhood opinion that makes Powderhorn Park such a vital communal space. It's a well-tended park, with beautifully sloping hills and a pond, that retains a distinctly urban character. Then there's the fabulous annual May Day festival (spearheaded by In The Heart of the Beast Puppet Theatre), fireworks on the Fourth of July, and ice-skaters and sledders all winter long.