Peavey Plaza fix plans call for fountains, refilled pool/ice skating rink

Coen + Partners/City of Minneapolis

Coen + Partners/City of Minneapolis

When Peavey Plaza first opened in the summer of 1975, it was all about water. 

Makes sense: a sunken public park just off downtown in the City of Lakes, itself the biggest town in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. 

These days, the only liquid found in Peavey Plaza comes in a bottle -- either Aquafina or wrapped in a brown paper bag... if indeed, there's anyone down there at all.

The city of Minneapolis has planned renovations at the once-popular park for some time, and as of mid-2012, considered ripping the park apart to free it up for some new development. Preservationists rallied to save the park, suing the city to block its demolition. The city backed off, and in 2013 agreed to consider new plans to fix up Peavey Plaza rather than rip it up.

For orientation, Peavey Plaza sits adjacent to Orchestra Hall, on 11th Street and Nicollet Mall, and a few stumbling steps away from Brit's Pub.

If artist renderings released this week hold up, water is on the way back, and in a big way. The Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal reports on plans submitted to the city of Minneapolis for review, which feature "fountains, runnels, and basins once again filled with water." (A "runnel," for those who don't spend their free time reviewing aqueduct blueprints, is a dug-out channel that allows for the movement of liquid, such as water or Diet Pepsi.)

In the winter, this water will freeze into a public ice skating rink -- a nice addition for downtown Minneapolis, which recently lost the Depot ice rink at the other end of town effective this year.

The renovation plan comes from Coen + Partners, an urban design firm whose recent projects include the State Capitol mall area in St. Paul and the exterior of the Minneapolis Central Library.

The proposal also calls for the addition and relocation of trees, plus new ramps and steps, which would create "inclusive access" from Nicollet Mall. 

If all goes as planned, the $10 million plaza project would be completed by May 2019, a date by which climate scientists predict -- with almost total confidence -- there will still be water on the Earth.